The Product Owner has to care; this is key to business and/or organizational success. The Product Owner has to care because if they don’t, there is no vision – no profound reason why the product should be developed. You know how the saying goes, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. Therefore the Product Owner must first care about Business Value. Someone who cares about Business Value is motivated to develop products that create revenue in the support of business and/or organizational goals. In agile development all team members are encouraged to care about Business Value. However, the core responsibility of Business Value belongs to the Product Owner. Second, they should care about Process Performance. Someone who cares about Process Performance is motivated to execute project schedules on time and on budget. Third, they should care about System Value. Someone who cares about System Value is motivated to develop systems that accurately deliver requested business value. Of course a person who performs the Product Owner role may care about many other things than these. That is what makes them unique and able to perform other roles on a project.
The Product Owner must be Strong or Strong(ER) to be able to develop and communicate a product vision that people will embrace.
The Product Owner should be Strong or Strong(ER). If you have a Product Owner who cares about Process Performance, you will have projects that don’t wrestle with gluttony and lust – two of the 7 sins of project management. It is OK if the Product Owner is not Strong if someone else on the team is Strong, and especially if the Agile Master is Strong(ER).
The Product Owner should be Strong. A Product Owner who can actually write requirements is very valuable. But even if someone else on the team is Strong or Strong(ER) and can fulfill these responsibilities, the Product Owner has to be able and willing to collaborate on writing/reviewing user stories and acceptance tests.