I am Done. Done-Done, to be honest. I have done four CSM classes in a row in India, within just two weeks and an insane schedule. I am exhausted. My travel took me from New Delhi to Kolkata, to Chennai and Bangalore back to New Delhi, where I just finished my last class. I am an agilist and whenever I am Done, I take some time to reflect.
Transparency. The last two weeks here in India felt like a Sprint with unsustainable pace. Yesterday and today I ran a class with 42 people, the class before with 39 and the other ones with not much less. The training company I worked for here in India squeezed in every delegate they could get, although we have discussed a limit. They complain that they need to have at least 25-27 people to break even, because training prices are cheap. People say, India is a volume game. And that is the problem again, buried in misunderstanding the difference between (a) producing goods, playing the volume game to lower prices and (b) people delivering services.
If you produce goods and you can sell more of them (high volumes), you can lower prices because you probably can lower your marginal costs. Costs that come with multiplying your output. Production of goods typically come with that and it is quite easy to lower marginal costs on higher volumes, without compromise on quality, given your production process is scalable. That's the reason why you get discount when you take more. Economies of scale at work.
If you deliver services like trainings that are "produced" by people and not machines, things are quite different. Selling more hours of a consultant does not reduce your marginal costs, it might reduce your sales and marketing effort, but nothing more. Delivering more trainings does not reduce your marginal costs. If you produce much more of a service such as training or consulting, people typically get exhausted when you leave the path of sustainable pace. Economies of Scale don't work. That's one problem.
Inspection. The other, and much bigger problem is high volume in trainings. For the last couple of years I've done my trainings with maximum 20 people, most of the time about 15. My style of training is very interactive. In CSM and CSPO classes I use no slides, or sometimes just a couple for illustrations. I discuss a lot with people and we work together to learn. When I went to the train-the-trainer class with Sharon Bowman ("Training from the Back of the Room"), I truly understood that training and learning has to do with working on the topic in class (Six trumps). That's how the human brain learns. My goal is to work with people to help them understand. There is a natural limit of people you can work with when doing it that way.
So delivering a CSM class to about 40+ people and covering all certification relevant topics is a hard thing. With the style that I use it's simply not possible. I fell back to using slides, a whole bunch of slides. I found myself doing a class like I did back in 1995. 180+ slides, animations to help people see pictures and how illustrations arise, myself talking about the slides content. The sound of the projector in a dimmed hall combined with only me speaking through a microphone, people falling asleep in the class, etc. It felt so bad, I can't tell. 16 hours of training that way is an awful experience to me.
One of the things that I talk is "no compromise on quality" and "attitude". I just broke with myself. I did not practice what I preach. I feel like a bitch, literally a training bitch. What I did here was prostituting myself. Strange enough, the people here in these classes still provided good feedback, they rated my training on average as great. I could not believe that, only a couple remarked that the classes had too many people. But anyway, it did by far not live up to my own expectations of training people. I have seen the difference between a class with 15-20 and one with 42, it's unbelievable. This compromise on quality has left a deep scratch in my skin.
Adaption. Today was my last training with that many people. And I guess it was my last training in India. I am not playing the volume game. Because it implies poor quality! I draw my motivation from delivering great services, making my customers happy and from enjoying the work that I do. None of those I could achieve. It sucks, and that makes me sad.