I think stakeholders are best described as interested parties. Stakeholders are a very important concept in business. It is often thought, for example, that a company should only keep its customers satisfied. To be successful, there are often more stakeholders. In this article I explain the meaning of the term stakeholder. I also give examples of how you deal with stakeholders both inside and outside the company.
You can have different stakeholders in project management. That means the interested parties within the project. You have to manage these stakeholders, in other words: in order for a project to succeed you must keep all interested parties satisfied. I consciously mention here all interested parties. You often have direct and indirect interested parties. The direct interested parties participate directly within the project. The indirect stakeholders must, for example, start using the end product. Of course it is also very important to let these people give their input early in the process. If you do this too late, chances are that there will be resistance. How often does it not happen that end users only see the product when it is completely finished? There is then no more room for making adjustments. Chances are that the end users do not like to use the product.
A method where stakeholder management plays an important role is Prince2. This method is often used in software development in particular.
In addition to stakeholders within a company, a company often also has to deal with external stakeholders. That can be the shareholders, but also the trade union, environmental organizations or other interest groups, customers, suppliers or legislators. A good management method for analyzing external factors is the DESTEP analysis.