Are you a Project/Program Manager (PM) ready to move up?  Or a Team Leader looking for more responsibility?  Or a team member (especially an engineer) eager to lead a team?

But you're not sure what a good CONOPS looks like? Or what a CONOPS should ALWAYS contain?  Or what it should NEVER contain?  Or even what template to use?

Then relax.  We can help you with all of that.



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Whether you are leading a project/program internal to your organization or for an external client, looking to empower and upskill staff in your company/agency, or maybe just looking to add skills to your own resume, you want to do a kick-a$$ job!  That means knowing the latest, proven techniques for managing jobs and leading people. 


16 hours of hard-hitting training can give you the skills and confidence you need!

Not understanding the fundamentals of efficient management and effective team leadership  can lead to immeasurable damage...

Damage To You Personally

Making serious mistakes in managing a project or leading a team (using old, antiquated techniques, failing to adjust management styles to adapt to younger workers, etc.) can quickly get you a reputation as a poor PM or rookie team leader. It happens a lot!  That will NOT please your leadership nor provide a good resume item for you.  So you won't be more employable elsewhere, and you'll stay at your current employment level.  Neither option is good.

Damage To Your Company

Your company/agency can lose customers if a project is not a resounding success.  Client's personal reputations are damaged when a project that reports to them, fails. And they never forget it.  A poorly managed program or poorly led technical team can make your customer wonder if your team really understands what it is doing.  This makes subsequent programs/projects MUCH more difficult to win.  One bad, visible  program/project has caused entire companies to fail.

Loss of Staff

Good people get job offers all the time.  People want to work where they are challenged, where they can see the results, and be part of successful projects and programs.  Many companies are experiencing high staff turnover due to boredom, lack of responsibility, and slow upward mobility. Adding a reputation of failed projects/programs can drop recruiting success to near-zero. But a reputation for great projects can do the opposite, making recruiting easy  and supporting an enthusiastic workforce that is also a recruiting tool.

Damage To Your Clients

Your clients' programs and projects compete for funding.  All. The. Time.  And successful projects are often your customer's #1 internal marketing tool to build and retain support for their system/programs with leadership and stakeholders.  Success breeds further successes. Projects that deliver on-time and on-budget  help them build their own reputations for knowing what they are doing!  You owe your clients the most successful, high-performing project teams that can be assembled.  Because your performance also reflects on them!

A recent study showed fresh college grads ranked employer-provided training above salary in priorities of benefits that make a job attractive.

When you Work with Smooth Projects you can count on...

  • Industry Knowledge -  we have made every imaginable mistake there is to make with projects, programs and technical teams, and some mistakes you probably cannot imagine.  We have been able to see how every US military service and the Intelligence Community likes their projects managed, and we have trained (and learned from) the best in the business.
  • End-user support -  Our Ethical Project Management and Technical Leadership process requires regular discussions between users and contractors, which inevitably builds the rapport you need between parties.
  • Real-world examples and lessons - We walk the walk.  We are not just academics with a teaching syllabus that someone handed us.  We wrote the book on ethical management of projects/programs and effective leadership of teams. We originated the Technical CONOPS as an essential tool for savvy PMs and we have built more CONOPS and supporting documents than all our competitors combined. 
  • Active, scenario-based, immersive training -  This training approach has proven to be the most powerful, long-lasting way to learn anything:  From radar controller instruction, auto-driving training, parachute training, firearms instruction, collaborative CONOPS building, complex defense systems design, and teaching people to fly aircraft, this training approach is the gold standard for achieving extremely high skill-retention rates in super-critical jobs.  (And the fact that we have actually taught in all those areas means we know how to train.)
  • Guidance from experienced, qualified instructors:  Even our virtual, on-demand courses are supported by live sessions with an experienced, Smooth Project instructor. The result is long-term retention of key concepts and how to employ them.  We make sure our graduates also have a deep understanding of WHY things are done a certain way so, when needed, they can improvise and tailor their approach.  We make our customers PM and Team Leader experts, able to handle any surprises.
  • Full Service: We can teach you to build an outstanding project team and then manage it and lead the people to deliver a great result that pleases everyone involved.  We can also coach yuou and your team on specific projects and programs.  And if we consult with you, you and your team will not be passive observers - - - you will be learning how to successfully lead teams since we also train as we mentor/coach.
  • Making a Real Difference - Project teams that employ the tools and techniques we teach progress faster, are smoother, and deliver better quality systems to the end-users, sooner.  We were recently told . . . " This training is making more contribution to our nation's defense than anything you could possibly be doing. And nobody else can do it.  So keep it up!" 
How Do I Find Out More?

Reviews from Previous Students


“I really enjoyed the class and have had several opportunities to put what I learned into practice, and more on their way.  Thank you for the great instruction, and reference materials.” 

(Barry D. - - - RF Engineer at Major US Prime Defense Contractor, Arlington, Virginia)

"I would highly recommend Mack . . . We have always been extremely pleased by the results of the training we received. Mack has had a dramatic impact . . . ." 

“The class was very illuminating and necessary. The depth and expertise came through. The format was good and I see the relevance of this class to Sikorsky."



"Mack is one of the most clear-thinking people I've ever seen. He will steadily peel off the layers of confusion and irrelevance until he uncovers the pure center of the issue. He knows when to nudge the process along and when to forcibly direct it. Once he uncovers the essence of the process, Mack expertly aggregates the surrounding issues and processes. He shows you how they go together and WHY they fit together the way that they do. He isn't satisfied until you clearly understand his process and can do it for yourself." 


But maybe you do not need this training, if you can say "yes" (with a straight face) to each of these questions: 

  • Are you confident that your personal performance on the teams where you work will result in a promotion at the end of the project/program?
  • If asked, will the end-customer specifically mention your personal involvement (as PM, team member, SME) as a key contributor to the effort's success?
  • If you are a new PM (or want to be one), would your own leadership/management chain cite your personal performnce as being outstanding on your current assignment(s)?

If there is a "no" anywhere in your answers, then your perfomance is not standing out, so YOU will not be standing out as an exempliary performer who should be promoted, paid more, and be given more responsibility!   Let's fix that.

Partner with us in developing the skills

to management projects and lead people in ways that clients will LOVE

Ethical Project Management & Team Leadership (Virtual, Public)

I want to be an outstanding team member, PM or Team Leader in my organization. I would like to get a seat in the very next public, virtual course.

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ON-SITE (Private)

My team at work would really benefit from this training. I would like to talk with someone about a private course for us, either virtual or on-site.

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Just the Essentials

I have an urgent deadline to complete a CONOPS so I need training now! 

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(Your Quickest Option)

Let us build your CONOPS for you.

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Virtual on-demand (coming soon)

Even more training material than our in-person courses! Done at your own pace.

Join the Waitlist
Virtual on-demand (coming soon)

Learn the CAFE tools for getting deep, interest-driven collaboration between teammates, stakeholders, users, and leadership.

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"[This] outstanding Executive CONOPS Course continues to be an immense asset to our business operations here at Raytheon. This course is much more than just a one-time learning exercise, it has provided both intellectual and tangible material that continually refines our department's abilities to develop CONOPS supporting nearly every proposal and product line in our business."
(Rob van Sice, Colonel, USAF, retired and Operations Lead, Raytheon Missile Systems)


"Thank you very much for conducting a solid CONOPS course. You covered everything I sought to learn and questioned. I've been utilizing my newly acquired skills and tools since the day after."
(Ray C.  - - - Cyber Engineer, US Navy Cyber Command)

Meet Mack McKinney

Founder of Smooth Projects

As an Air Force officer, radar controller, pilot and seasoned defense contractor, and inventor with US patents in hyperspectral sensing and radar processing, Mack has “walked the walk” of a military systems user and developer.  Now, with 40+ years of hands-on experience, he is leading the charge by giving back and training the generations of tomorrow. 


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Take Our Free, 10-minute, Video based CONOPS Mini Course

This mini-course will have you sounding like an expert in less than 10 minutes. Completely free, no strings attached.

We have worked with many of the nation's premier organizations and we are proud of those relationships. But the appearance on this website of logos or trademarks of corporations or government organizations where we have taught our courses doesn’t mean they agree with our statements or endorse our products.

But they should.


The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information on this website does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement of our products and services.