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Can a BA act as proxy PO, given the PO in different timezone

Last post 04:00 pm October 23, 2019 by Ian Mitchell
7 replies
02:19 am October 23, 2019

Hi Team,

I Have joined new development team of 3 developers and 1 BA (yet to onboard QA folks).  We have matured team counterparts sitting in US and the PO is also based out of same location.

The PO interacts with the BA on daily basis on the PBIs and the BA as of now writing groomed User stories into e-board. 


The development team interacts with PO on less frequent basis and gets all their queries solved or answered by the BA. If the BA doesn't know the answer then he will check with PO and comes back to team.


I said that this pattern is proxy PO and is not a good practice to be followed, but the team said that since the PO is based on PST timezone and due to diff geographical timings, cant interact with him and so getting to know detail from BA who stays late IST and checks all details with PO.

Is this okay to be followed with BA acting as proxy PO given the diff timezone limitations.  Else how best we can address this.

03:59 am October 23, 2019

If the team is all based in the US, is the timezone really that much of an issue? Isn't the maximum timezone difference about 3 hours?

04:04 am October 23, 2019

Hey @Ben the team are from Pacific timezone which is 12hours difference from Indian time zone

04:17 am October 23, 2019

Are you referring to the "role"? It does not matter since the team have the BA (BA can answer almost all questions). As for priority of the items for the next sprint, you can ask that ahead of time so the time zone will not be an issue.

Are there any specific instances that the team needs the PO instead of the BA?

11:31 am October 23, 2019

I would suggest to take it to the team: offer a retrospective (assuming the said PO is present in this event?) and inspect together using the stages to who is actually the PO. I see a possible scenario where the BA will continue to grow into the role of PO, and the current PO will step aside and and in the future act as key stakeholder.

12:39 pm October 23, 2019


If the BA is going to assume a proxy PO role in their absence they should be empowered to make decisions as if they were the PO while acting as proxy. This can help prevent delays to the Development Team and promote a more rapid learning cycle. This would require a lot of trust and a mutual understanding between the PO and BA of what the BA is empowered to do as proxy. 


01:29 pm October 23, 2019

What cant the PO work in the same time zone as the  DevOP's ?  This would  enable direct communications with the Dev / team. 


At the end of the day,  the PO is responsible for the increment and the product.  

04:00 pm October 23, 2019

Is this okay to be followed with BA acting as proxy PO given the diff timezone limitations.

The Scrum Guide says:

The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog. Product Backlog management includes:

  • Clearly expressing Product Backlog items;
  • Ordering the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions;
  • Optimizing the value of the work the Development Team performs;
  • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all, and shows what the Scrum Team will work on next; and,
  • Ensuring the Development Team understands items in the Product Backlog to the level needed.

The Product Owner may do the above work, or have the Development Team do it. However, the Product Owner remains accountable.

So ask the PO is happy with the arrangement you describe. He or she may delegate work to team members, but still carries the can.

Else how best we can address this.

Why have you chosen to focus on this particular issue, when the team QA skills required to create a "Done" increment are missing?

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