It’s official, I’ve been fired from my first client. Learn from failure! What went wrong?
Oh, lots of things.
But my working unified theory of The Problem is that I couldn’t build trust with them. I couldn’t form a relationship that proved to them they should trust me, and so every action I took was regarded with suspicion. Every mistake was proof of bad intention, and every success was reframed as a mistake. It was a very bad scene.
They had a big problem with trusting each other. Meetings were ambushes. The developers were blamed for not working fast enough. The tech lead was blamed for problems with the codebase he inherited. No one told the truth and toxicity reigned. It was a very very bad scene.
What should I have done? Was there a way to save it? Ask me next week, once the sting of it has dulled a little. In the meantime, I’ll share a little game theory that uses the (flawed) prisoner’s dilemma to show the best strategy for developing trust, and why modern society is getting worse at it.