What is a stakeholder? If you are a stakeholder in something, you have an interest or concern in that thing and its continued success. In Scrum, stakeholders are not considered part of the Scrum team but are vital to the success of the team and the product they produce.
The key role of stakeholders in Scrum is to provide feedback and insights on the product increments created by the Scrum team. Without continued stakeholder interest and feedback throughout a products development, the iterative and incremental approach of Scrum is significantly devalued.
Typical stakeholders might be the end users of a product, sponsors responsible for making product funding decisions, sales or implementation engineers and those working on other related/dependent products – anyone with a continued interest in how a product is developing.
The sprint review is the main forum for the Scrum team to interact with their stakeholders. The team should expect their stakeholders to attend their Sprint Review in order to provide feedback on the latest product increment and to collaborate on the product backlog for future sprints. It is invaluable for the development team to hear feedback from their stakeholders first hand. Outside of the sprint review, the product owner would be the team member most frequently communicating with stakeholders by collaboratively discussing and defining requirements, consulting them on market conditions and helping convey their vision back to the rest of the team.
What is a stakeholder: top tip
You would expect a good product owner to spend some time at the start of a product development or project initiative to understand who the key stakeholders are and what their interest is in what is to be developed. Time spent understanding and engaging the stakeholders upfront (for example introducing them to the team and communicating the importance of feedback and transparency) will pay dividends once development is underway. Stakeholder mapping is a great technique for achieving this.