The Ins and Outs of Project Management

Project Managment… It’s What We Do Best

They say write what you know, right? Well, project management is a core service that ALPS offers. It’s integral to ensuring a smooth and seamless planning, design, construction, and handover process for a new CEA facility or greenhouse. One of the main benefits of project management, especially to those with large-scale projects, is the supervision of entire projects from beginning to end, bringing each stage into a state of control.

There are 5 phases to the project management cycle:

  1. Initiate
  2. Design
  3. Execute
  4. Monitor
  5. Commissioning & Handover

The initiate phase is all about project definition, with a focus on project kick-off and discovery. This is the phase of where high-level designs and drawings are developed to pinpoint exactly what the client wants and needs. Interviews are conducted, information is gathered, scheduling is developed, and the Drafting, Engineering, and Budgeting teams create the initial project documentation. Once all initial documentation has gone through multiple reviews and has been approved by the client, the project is ready to move on to Phase 2.


The design phase of project management is an iterative design process to delivery a Request for Proposal (RFP). This is also the phase where the project budget estimation is refined through the 30%, 60%, and 90% design reviews as more categories are identified. Several documents are prepared by Project Managers during this phase including:

Quality Management Plan, RAID Logs, Project Schedule, Risk Management Plan, and Quality Control Measurements.

These individual documents can be expanded on as PMs start to develop content around them.


The execute phase is when the RFP is distributed to the client. The Project Manager engages with the client, presents different project delivery models, and develops a strategy around how to engage project vendors in accordance with the project delivery models. The vendor selection process is an integral part of the execute phase, where a list of potential vendors is identified. From this list, project managers conduct a vendor bidding process where they can assess which ones are technically, commercially, and program/schedule-wise the most appropriate for the project. Once vendors have been identified and contracted, construction can begin.


The monitor phase of project management is the longest phase of the project as everything is rolled out sequentially. At this point, construction has begun on site, design and engineering has started, and it is the Project Manager’s job to make sure communication is streamlined. A core focus in this phase is regular progress meetings. Further, weekly summary reports are created and updated on the Project Dashboard – this dashboard includes metrics such as Overall Project Status (risk, schedule, and budget statuses, and percent complete), RAID Log (Risk, Action, Issue, Decision), and Project Schedule.

Commissioning & Handover

The commissioning and handover phase of project management is the final phase. Once construction has completed, a final inspection of the site is made to ensure that everything has been done according to design. A field inspection is then completed which tests equipment (e.g., HVAC, chillers, lights) to make sure everything is working properly – any adjustments are identified and corrected. Once field testing is completed, the Systems Commissioning process begins which includes Equipment Validation (Installation, Operation, and Performance Qualifications are validated), development of a Preventative Maintenance Program, and installing an operating system. From this step you have Equipment Validation Reports, System Commissioning Reports, and a Preventative Maintenance Plan all prepared for the client.

The last and final step of commissioning is the Project Close Out Report. This report highlights key parameters of the project, what happened, what went right or wrong, lessons learned, and what would be changed the next time around.

Final Thoughts

Project Management is a highly detailed and client-oriented service that oversees every step of a project from inception to completion. This is especially beneficial to those entering into a long-term, mass-scale, high budget project. A Project Manager saves the client money and stress through a unique set of skills and knowledge.