Visual Studio Online has a new Stakeholder license for members not in the core development team. This allows an account to add an unlimited number of users to a project in a ‘stakeholder’ role for free. A stakeholder can view the project home page, backlog, can add and edit items, run work item queries, and more.
This is Microsoft response to the many different parts of a developer project, and this new feature enables them all to work together far more closely. Now business partners and managers can have a deeper understanding of the progress and status of the project.
Additionally, contributors looking for bugs, or delivering patches have a closer relationship with the project as stakeholders.
This is a welcome addition to Visual Studio Online, which already offers cloud hosted repos, agile project management, and more. You can sign up for Visual Studio Online here. A bonus for developers: Azure Active Directory is also available for Visual Online accounts.