All project stakeholders have different needs, objectives, responsibilities and priorities. For many project managers it can often come as a surprise to realise that, for any number of reasons (personal or professional), some of their stakeholders may not be as co-operative and helpful as they expected or hoped for. It could be a negative and powerful sponsor (the 'Anti-sponsor'), a demotivated team, low-maturity or unrealistic external clients, maliciously compliant gatekeepers and finance teams, or uninterested internal customers. The reality of project management is that there are stakeholders embedded within all projects and that some of them can be difficult.
That is why strong stakeholder engagement is perhaps the most critical factor for achieving successful project execution in our fast-paced world. Many project managers get stuck in the "science" of project management, spending vast amounts of effort on tasks, charts, and metrics. Project managers who emphasise activities around relationship building and stakeholder engagement usually have the best chance for project / programme success. The book The Game Changer for Program Management is a good read as it focuses on how to engage stakeholders in the right way, and perhaps more importantly, keep them engaged throughout the program. (ISBN 9781032340173 - published by Auerback Publications).
A paper from HM Courts & Tribunals Service (Engaging with our external stakeholders: a progress update, September 2021) is a good read, in particular as it deals in part with how the department engaged with their stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic.