A Stakeholder is a person, group, or organization that has responsibility and influence over the success of a program or system. They can either be internal or external stakeholders but all have influence over the organization’s goals.
Internal and External Stakeholders
Stakeholders can be defined broadly as internal or external. Each has influence over an organization or project goals.
- Internal stakeholders: people who have an interest in a project or organization with a direct relationship.
- External stakeholders: people who do not direct relationship with the organization or project but still can influence its outcome.
Stakeholders in Defense Acquisitions
Definition: Stakeholders consist of any group or organization with a related or subsequent responsibility that is directly related to the outcome of an action or result. Generally speaking, they can influence the outcome or are the recipient of the results. The range of personnel selected to participate as stakeholders is based on the outcome and processes involved. 
Key stakeholders in government acquisitions include:
- Users or operators (most important)
- Program Manager (PM)
- Milestone Decision Authority (MDA)
- Acquisition commands
- Contracts manager
- Engineering department
- Finance manager
- Integrated Product Team (IPT)
- Personnel & training communities
- Procuring Contracting Officer (PCO)
- Senior leadership
- Test communities
The Program Manager (PM) has the critical role of establishing and implementing a systems engineering approach that includes all stakeholders and leads all participants to translate operational needs and capabilities into technically feasible, affordable, and operationally effective and suitable increments of a system. 
Stakeholders (including potential support providers) are identified and included in Integrated Product/Process Team (IPT) processes to build an early understanding of and buy-in for sustainment requirements and objectives. 
- It’s key to make sure all key stakeholders are identified prior to initiating any program so they can define their requirements. Requirements changes in the middle of a program can lead to schedule delays and cost increases.
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