Low Intensity Project Management

PMI Upstate New York Chapter

"Low intensity conflict is a political-military confrontation between contending states or groups below conventional war and above the routine, peaceful competition among states." -- U.S. Army Field Manual FM-100-20, Military Operations in Low Intensity Conflict.


When Field Manual FM-100-20 was written more than a dozen years ago, the U.S. military was coming to grips with the recognition that it would increasingly be placing personnel into situations in which their training for traditional combat between opposing armies in Europe, Korea or even the Middle East would be counterproductive.


Without stretching the analogy too far, it is safe to say that many project managers find themselves in environments in which ad hoc oversight of project-like activities provides insufficient control for success, but attempts to implement anything approaching the full corpus of project management (with precise budgeting, close tracking, firm deadlines, etc.) would be politically and/or organizationally counterproductive, if not fatal. Into this gap falls what might be called "Low Intensity Project Management" (LIPM).


Much has been written about how to implement highly structured project management. However, little guidance exists regarding how to proceed when conditions are less demanding but not entirely ad hoc.




What is low-intensity project management?

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"Only two things are infinite, the Universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

- Albert Einstein