Has your systems development organization fully embraced modern Systems Engineering (SE) (including agile, lean, scrum, etc.)?  Have you and your team fully implemented Digital Engineering (DE) and digital twins for all your system development projects?  And do you regularly employ Mission Engineering (ME) techniques, processes and tools including user-driven requirements and human-centered design?  WHAT!?!  You still have not implemented these three crucial disciplines?

Every major systems design and development organization, both government and contractor, and every FFRDC, university engineering department and think tank is scrambling to implement those three engineering pillars and then to somehow pull all that together.  But we have actually done that with our Integrated Mission Engineering Framework, and we’ll show you how to adopt it and use it.

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



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When you choose Smooth Projects as a partner, you can count on...

  • Industry Knowledge -  We have made every imaginable mistake with projects, programs and technical teams, and some mistakes you probably cannot even imagine.  We have carefully watched how every US military service and the Intelligence Community likes their projects managed and led, and we have trained (and learned from) the best in the business  - - - Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman (four divisions), Raytheon (three divisions), MITRE, BAH (four locations) and many others.
  • End-user support -  Our Integrated Mission Engineering Framework (IMEF) process requires regular discussions between users and contractors, which builds strong rapport between developers and users/operators.  And we know how to find cooperative users and how to get actionable suggestions from them.
  • Real-world examples and lessons - We walk the walk.  We are former military users of complex weapons and C4ISR systems.  And we are not just academics with a teaching syllabus that someone handed us.  We wrote the book on Mission Engineering and were teaching it to US DOD and Allied governments, plus industry giants, worldwide, as early as 2004!  We originated the Technical CONOPS framework as an essential tool for structuring and tracking systems development and we have built more CONOPS and mission-centered 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 we have actually taught in each of those areas so we know how to use this proven instruction approach to get people fully trained, fast.)
  • Guidance from experienced, qualified instructors:  Every class, virtual or on-site, features live sessions with an experienced, Smooth Projects 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 out in the real world, they can improvise and tailor their own approach.  We make our customers Integrated Mission Engineering experts, able to handle any surprises.
  • Full Service: We can teach you employ the latest SE, DE and ME techniques and tools.  We can also coach you and your team on your ongoing 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 IMEF development teams since we also train while we mentor/coach.
  • Making a Real Difference - Project teams that employ our tools and techniques 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?
Whether you are leading a project/program internal to your organization, or for an external client, looking to empower and upskill engineering staff in your company/agency, or maybe just looking to add skills to your own resume, you need to stay current on the Take-Charge Triad of SE, DE and ME.


16 hours of hard-hitting, hands-on, immersive training will give you the skills and confidence you need!

FREE Advanced Systems Development Masterclass

✔ Speak the language of modern, Joint Force Military Operations, as you design and develop new capabilities..

✔ Use the Take-Charge-Triad of Systems Engineering, Digital Engineering and Mission Engineering, that guarantees successful system development and fielding of systems-of-systems.

✔ Use two foolproof ways to get pound-on-the-desk levels of users’ support for your systems:  the Stakeholder Matrix and special User-Interviews (both structured and unstructured) and when to use each type.

✔ Get a strong competitive advantage with five crucial tools that are completely missing from US DOD’s Mission Engineering toolkit:  User-Driven Stakeholder Matrix, Single Page Operations Concept, MIT’s Problem-Framing technique, User-Driven Development Framework, and the Collaborative Architectural Failure-Resistant Engine.

➡ And we will show you how to use EACH one!

Enroll for this Free Masterclass 30th November 2022 11am EST

(hour long, no strings attached)

Not understanding the fundamentals of SE, DE and ME, and how they can work in synergy, can lead to immeasurable damage...

Damage To You Personally

Making serious mistakes in concepting, designing, developing and fielding systems-of-systems will hurt your personal reputation.  Using old, antiquated techniques, failing to integrate MBSE, making Human-Centered Design mistakes, half-heartedly implementing Digital Engineering, etc. can quickly get you a reputation as a poor PM, sloppy engineer or rookie team leader. That will NOT please your leadership nor provide a good resume entry for you.  So you won't get a great job offer elsewhere. Instead, you'll stay where you are and, if you are lucky, at your current salary level. 

Damage To Your Company

Your company/agency can lose customers if a project is not a resounding success.  Your clients' personal reputations are damaged when a project that reports to them, fails. And they never forget it.  A poorly managed development effort 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 failed, visible  program or project has even caused entire companies to fail or be sold.  Government offices award contracts to firms that can provide strong teams!  Make sure that is YOU!

Loss of Staff

Good people, your people, get job offers all the time.  People want to work where they are challenged, energized and appreciated, where they can use the latest tools and processes, and be part of successful project teams and programs.  Many companies are experiencing high staff turnover due to boredom, employee's lacking responsibility, and slow upward mobility. Adding a reputation of failed projects/programs can drop recruiting success to near-zero. But a reputation for delivering great systems can do the opposite, making recruiting easy  and energizing an enthusiastic workforce that itself becomes 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 your clients build their own reputations for knowing what they are doing!    Government agencies and services have long memories, especially when a company's screw-up cost them money, prestige, staff and maybe even a promotion!  Don't let that be you.

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

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 . . . ." 
(Senior Systems Engineer, Raytheon Missile Systems)

“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."

(RF Systems Engineer, Sikorsky, Bridgeport, CT)



"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." 

(Neil Kacena, Colonel, USAF, ret. and former Deputy Director Lockheed Martin Skunk Works)


But maybe you do not need this training, if each of these statements is absolutely true: 

  • You and your development teams already speak the language of modern, Joint Force Military Operations, as you design and develop new capabilities.  And you already know the service-specific biases and systems-related needs of the US Air Force, US Navy, US Army, US Marine Corps and US Space Force, and how they look at problems (biases, prejudices and worldviews that impact procurements).
  • You and your development teams regularly use the Take-Charge-Triad of Systems Engineering, Digital Engineering and Mission Engineering, that almost guarantees successful  development and fielding of systems-of-systems.
  • At least 90% of your new concepts survive the Government's "Valley of Death" and make it through to operational fielding with users.

Not doing those key things?  Then join us.  We are transforming how defense development projects and programs are conceived, designed, contracted, managed and staffed.  We intend nothing short of a revolution in how defense end-users are supported from initial, user-driven concepting, through stakeholder discussions, with all three pillars of engineering (SE, DE and ME), and more efficient updating and upgrading of mission-critical systems.

Partner with us in developing the skills

to manage projects and lead people, to help the US defense ecosystem develop and field super-capable systems that defense users and operators will LOVE

Integrated Mission Engineering Framework
- - - IMEF - - - Workshop (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 next public, virtual course.

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Integrated Mission Engineering or Technical CONOPS Training
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.

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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.

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But they should.


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