At APD, we value continued professional discourse in each of our practice areas, and endeavor to participate in a variety of industry events to further these discussions and build lasting connections with other professionals working in the industry. Below is an excerpt of a Q&A taken from Brian Anderson’s panel discussion at the Day Pitney Law Offices in March 2018, at the event ‘What’s Next for Cannabis Regulation?” :

When someone is developing a program, do you see clients working backwards from a revenue goal or forward from a final product/process perspective?

There is no right or wrong way to develop a program for a project. Depending on where you are in defining your business case and the impact that your project will have on your strategic plan and objectives, you can decide whether to do a forward pass or backward pass. Both of which has its advantages and disadvantages.

Forward Pass

This method identifies the fundamental things in your program without going too much into the details. You may have a final product in mind or have defined a unique process you want to implement; the forward approach gives a high-level list of the critical items you need within your program and potentially identifies areas that you need to think more about.

Advantage: Can be done fairly quickly

Disadvantage: Key elements may be left out

Backward Pass

This method takes significantly more time than a forward pass, but it is good when you have a revenue goal established. Knowing what your budget is and having a good idea of what the final product or yearly financial goals are, you can begin to analyze what you need and how you are going to get there. This approach breaks down the program by room to help to determine ideal square footages, equipment needs and finally cost of equipment and daily operations.

Advantage: Thorough program established

Disadvantage: Time consuming


Within the design process there is time to do both. An early forward pass at your program can be helpful when considering potential locations for you project. This is also useful in starting communication with your architect and design team. However, be reminded that you cannot stop after you do your initial forward pass. Doing a backward pass early on in the design process ensures that the facility will be designed to your specifications and needs. Do not overlook the importance of proper program development for your projects.