CANNABIS FACILITIES – Focusing on Project Management and Delivery

In our last blog, we had briefly explored the challenges facing licensed producers attempting to quickly construct their facilities without engaging the services of an experience consulting team that understands the many nuances of cannabis production. We will continue to explore these challenges a bit further in upcoming blogs starting with today’s blog, focusing on project management and delivery of these sophisticated and yet mostly misunderstood production facilities. The execution of a large scale cannabis facility with the magnitude and technical complexity that has come to be expected by both client and regulatory bodies, requires a clear and concise understanding of the various aspects of project management. The elements that form the basis of exceptional project management are outlined below:


  1. Integration Management: Construction projects, especially those in the cannabis sector, have all types of activities going on consecutively and there is a need to keep the all moving parts moving forward collectively, integrating all of the dynamics that are required to take place. Managing integration is about developing the project brief, and scope of work statement, along with a plan to direct, manage, monitor, and control project changes as they occur.


  1. Scope Management: Projects need to have a defined parameter or scope, and this must be broken down and managed through a work breakdown structure. Managing scope is about planning, definition, work breakdown structure, verification, and control.


  1. Time/Schedule Management: Projects have a definite beginning and a definite ending date. Therefore, there is a need to manage the budgeted time according to a defined and accepted project schedule. Managing the project time and schedule is about definition, sequencing, team resource and duration estimating, schedule development, and schedule control.


  1. Cost Management: Projects consume resources and managing costs is about resource planning, cost estimating, budgeting, and control.


  1. Quality Management: Projects involve specific deliverables which are required to meet project objectives and performance standards as established by the client and/or consulting teams. Managing quality is about quality planning, quality assurance, and quality control.


  1. Project Team Member Management: Projects can easily consist of a variety of teams and team members which need to be managed during the life cycle of the project. Finding the right people, managing their outputs, and keeping them on schedule is a big part of managing a project.


  1. Communication Management: Cannabis projects involve a number of people, not just the client who benefits directly from the project outcomes, but also regulatory bodies who need to be apprised of the projects status on a timely and consistent basis in order to ensure the issuance of required licenses are not delayed. Additional project team members will also typically include project participants (contractors, and consultants), but also managers from various firms who must oversee the project, as well as external stakeholders who have an interest in the success of the project. Managing communication is about communications planning, information distribution, performance reporting, and stakeholder management.


  1. Risk Management: Projects are a discovery-driven process, often uncovering new customer needs and identifying critical issues not previously disclosed. Projects also encounter unexpected events, such as project team members leaving the project, budgeted resources suddenly changing, client re-organization and newer technologies being introduced. There is a real need to properly identify various risks and manage these risks. Managing risk is about risk planning and identification, risk analysis (qualitative and quantitative), action planning on the risks, and risk monitoring and control. Typically this is done as a collective effort between the client, consulting team as well as the contractors and sub-trades involved in the construction of the project. The very detailed nature of risk analysis and risk management typically requires engaging a consultant that is focused on providing this service exclusively and who works with the client and consulting teams to outline and develop and risk register.


  1. Procurement Management: Projects procure the services of outside vendors and contractors, including the purchase of equipment. There is a need to manage the various vendors involved in the project, whether contracted directly with the client or those secured by the contractor through a formal tendering process. Managing procurement is about acquisition and contracting plans, sellers’ responses and selections, contract administration, and contract closure.


  1. Stakeholder Management: Every project impacts people and organizations and is impacted by people and organizations. Identifying these stakeholders early, and as they arise and change throughout the project, is a key success factor. Managing stakeholders is about identifying stakeholders, their interest level, and their potential to influence the project; and managing and controlling the relationships and communications between stakeholders and the project.


With these critical project management elements outlined, it is important to understand the flow of the project from project initiation to project close out. We will explore these steps in future blogs.


By Robert Mulyk – Director of BenchmarkBUILD for TheraCann International.

For more information on  the Cannabis Facility Building design and our services,  please contact Robert Mulyk, Director of BenchmarkBUILD for TheraCann International.