Differentiation made between users and stakeholders in the study guide. For example, in Requirements Management the definition of benefits are “The quantifiable and measurable improvement resulting from completion of project deliverables that is perceived as positive by a stakeholder.” My initial gut feeling would be that benefits are perceived as positive by users rather than stakeholders, as some stakeholders may be against the project so much that they do not consider it to bring any benefits. Also, in Project Success and Benefits Management the term Success Criteria is defined as “Those things, identified by the stakeholders, that need to be achieved in order for the project to be a success.” Could you explain why these definitions refer to stakeholders as a whole, rather than just the users?
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Thanks for the question; this did give me pause for thought. Users are those people who use the assets produced by the project to deliver the benefits. Think about the IT system in a call centre or T5. The users are the call centre staff or the check in staff in the airport. The APM do not differentiate these individuals from end users, but I find this a useful concept. The end users and the bank customers or the airline passengers. The difference is that users are consulted (often via a user group) on their views on the needs and want for the project, they also have an influence on the success or failure of the project. If they find the systems un-useable because of poor design then the project may need to be reworked.
Stakeholders on the other hand, are a much bigger group who have an interest in the project. The most important group are the key stakeholders with significant power and interest in the project. Typically this will include the senior managers of the sponsoring organisation, or the developer and banks in a building project. Clearly these have a bigger influence on the evaluation of the project success and if the benefits have been realised. The may not however ever use the service. However they so evaluate the returns from the project such as reduced cost of operations and profit from the development. I expect the only criticism of the APM BoK here is that the evaluations of benefits by stakeholders is weighted by their importance to the project. Those stakeholders with more power and influence have a more important input into the evaluation of the benefits. But evaluation of the benefits is not just down to the users because they may not see the project in the round.
I hope this helps.