Following our series of articles exploring the different roles in agile teams, I would like to talk a little bit about stakeholders.
Traditional project management methodologies, such as PMP or Prince 2, normally define stakeholders as someone impacted or affected by the project. Different project management methodologies have different definitions.
In Scrum, everything is different. Officially, scrum only recognizes three roles: development team, scrum master and product owner. The product owner is responsible for understanding what stakeholders require and for channeling their voices.
Before I continue to delve a bit deeper into what role stakeholders play in an agile project, let me quickly go back a step and take a look at who is a stakeholder. My definition is, in short: anyone with an interest in the project. This may include:
- End user
- Project sponsor(s)
- People you need to be interface with in order to complete it; for example: sys-admins or legal
- People directly impacted by the implementation of the project; for example: line managers of project team members, account managers, sales people,
- Subject matter and domain experts
All agile projects I have encountered have stakeholders outside the scrum team. Stakeholders and their exact roles vary between projects and organizations.
However, there is one stakeholder agile projects put a big emphasis on: the end user. The reason for this is because in agile, we have to make sure that we add value at every step. This mantra is reflected in every agile practice. For example, looking at the user story format you will see that it starts with “as a …” and ends with “so that …”. This forces the product owner to talk to the beneficiary of the story and to validate his assumptions. In agile, doing things right is good – also doing the right things, however, is much better!
The first agile principle states it quite clearly: “our highest priority is to satisfy the [end] customer”.
This article was originally published on 30 July 2012 at http://platinumedge.com/blog