PlayItFWD

Posted on November 26, 2011 by Brian Jaress
Tags: work

PlayItFWD has been launched and, after a bit of firefighting, handed off to the client for maintenance. (I was lead developer, mostly because I was the one working on it full-time throughout.)

Movies with messages or morals to the story spread by word of mouth. PlayItFWD gives every viewer easy ways to go further and gift streaming rentals over the Internet. Our client was Elevate, which specializes in that type of movie, and they’re using the platform to distribute Ghetto Physics and THRIVE.

I like the PlayItFWD concept because we’re giving people an easy way to do something they already do the hard way. Instead of nagging someone to watch a movie, you can give it to them.

The project had some challenges. The number and variety of stakeholders, and the apparent variety of their visions, was beyond anything I’d dealt with before. For example, we were told to change project scheduling tools more than once a month.1

Despite it all, we released on time and signed up an independent movie with significant funding and audience.2 We had a great development team,3 which is why we hit our targets under tough circumstances. Someday I’ll write in depth about the challenges we faced and what I learned.

For now, congratulations to the other developers for great work, thanks to the other people who helped in non-coding roles,4 and best of luck to Elevate, which is betting on the impulse to give gifts and share ideas.


  1. In three and a half months of development, we changed four times: from Jira to Basecamp, then to a Google Docs spreadsheet, back to Basecamp, then back to another Google Docs spreadsheet (while continuing to use Basecamp for messages).

  2. THRIVE is promoted and supported by its independently wealthy narrator.

  3. Alex Boatwright, Shaoxuan Zhang, Andy Cochrane, and myself.

  4. Primarily Michael Root, who was an advisor and developer advocate throughout.