Stakeholder Management

We often use the term stakeholder in software development, however the use is often limited to financiers, executive management, customers, or others who have a direct financial stake in the products or services we provide. I have always thought this to be a limited (and limiting) perspective. There are many more people and groups that have a stake in what we do.

Stakeholder Management is an area of strategic management that provides models for identifying and mapping stakeholders. Probably the primary author and thinker in the area is R. Edward Freeman. Freeman’s work encourages a broader use of the term ‘stakeholder’. Freeman identifies seven techniques for creating value for stakeholders, including stakeholder assessment, stakeholder behavior analysis, understanding stakeholders in more depth, assessing stakeholder strategies, developing specific strategies for stakeholders, creating new models of interaction for stakeholders, developing integrative value creation strategies (See the books Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach and Managing for Stakeholders).

I have published several papers that describe Stakeholder Theory, Stakeholder Management, and how these can be applied to software product development organizations. The application of Stakeholder Management to agile and Lean product development organizations is the topic of my ongoing research.

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