Stakeholders. Central figures with legitimate interests.

What are stakeholders, why are they important and how do you deal deal with them?

Are you a stakeholder? You may not think so. But have you ever bought a phone, used a stove, worn a pair of trousers or driven a car? Yes? Well then you have been a stakeholder because during the development process of those products, to varying degrees, your needs were taken into consideration.

And speaking of cars, over to the right you can see the VW T1, a.k.a. Bulli. Many different stakeholders need to be taken into account during the production of a car. Let’s take a look at some of them.

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The stakeholder, the unknown creature
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The VW Bulli, the quintessential family car. As with every family car each member of the family has their own ambitions with the vehicle. In this case the son really wants to transport his surfing equipment—he would like a roof rack.

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The daughter also wants to surf, on the internet that is. She wants a comfortable place to lounge in, preferably with a collapsible tray.

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Dad has two goals on his ideal holiday: lots of reading and enjoying the great outdoors. He would like a comfortable passenger seat and an unobstructed panoramic view.

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Mom is the designated driver. She also wants a comfortable seat as well as an ergonomically designed armrest. A decent engine wouldn’t hurt either.

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The Bulli was designed for long journeys. But sometimes things just go wrong—sooner or later the vehicle will need repairs out on the open road. Because VW mechanics are spread really thin across northern Lapland the family, as well as the engineers, would appreciate it if the car were easy to repair.

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The manufacturer wants to produce the car cheaply while at the same time guaranteeing high quality.

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One more person is also present in every Bulli’s backseat: the shareholder. She is interested in successful long-term product development at VW.

What is a stakeholder?

The stakeholder is the central figure in ensuring successful projects. Stake refers to interest and holder refers to possession. In other words a stakeholder is someone who has an interest in the success of the projects—their interests are on the line. In that sense stakeholders could also be thought of as interested parties in the project. The concept is not only restricted to people who use the system, such as clients, employees or managers but it could also include legal entities like institutions that also could have an interest in the system.