Our Story

We are a team of  operations-experienced technical leaders and CONOPS builders who specialize in translating customer's needs into products and services.  

Our instructors are subject matter experts in requirements management, critical thinking, and systems engineering.  We teach courses for defense, civilians and uniformed military, contractors, and for commercial clients.  

We originated the Technical CONOPS as a way to ensure users' real needs are reflected in mission-critical systems, requirements are captured and managed, and the entire systems development process is smooth and low-stress for all concerned.  This is the mission of Smooth Projects:  user-reponsive systems, delivered faster, at lower costs, without burning-out our most precious asset - - - our people!

Our clients include: General Dynamics, Raytheon Missile Systems and Space and Airborne Systems, Boeing Phantom Works, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, MITRE, Booze Allen Hamilton, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Sikorsky, General Dynamics, Joint Forces Command, U.S. Navy Cyber Command, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), US Air Force Air Combat Command, DARPA, and the governments of Italy, UAE, Denmark, Hungary and Sweden.

What makes SMOOTH PROJECTS' training approach different?  A culture-changing central theme and then three unique training approaches.  Our prime directive and central theme is "design and build for the users".  And that requires an understanding of all four user groups and the various other stakeholders who impact systems development efforts.  It necessitates the use of representative personas to help tailor and fine-tune systems attributes.  And we use a touchstone, a framework, to hold everything together as systems progress from concept through design, agile development, test and deployment:  that touchstone is the Technical CONOPS approach.

We use three training techniques, each of which is increasingly rare:

1.  Our instructors have "walked-the-walk" as both US Government users of complex systems and as contractors who have actually built complicated systems.

2.  We use real-world examples, recent case studies and current lessons learned (not just academic concepts).

3.  We teach only proven techniques that have been updated and that work seamlessly with DevSecOps, Model Based Systems Engineering and other branches of Digital Engineering.


4 ways to get started



I want to be the CONOPS subject matter expert in my organization. I would like to get a seat in the very next public course, virtual or on-site.

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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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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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"I have worked closely with Mack over 3+ decades. Whether as a USAF Officer or [a consultant], Mack McKinney gets the job done. He thinks strategically, approaches topics professionally, engages effectively, and is a true Subject Matter Expert (SME) on the development of Concepts of Operations (ConOps) in the Department of Defense (DoD) environment. He fully understands and illustrates the importance, use, impact, and value proposition associated with the application of his structured methodology to constructing insightful and innovative ConOps.

- Neil Kacena, Senior VP, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems


Mack is a dedicated and self motivated entrepreneur whose contributions have made a significant impact on the readiness to his customers and in his company. Mack is a consummate professional who takes his job seriously and fully applies himself to the assigned task. His cognitive analysis provided valuable new insights into his business. Mack is a team player that adapts quickly to a changing market. Mack is a versatile individual, ready now to tackle greater challenges. 

- Roderick Talabucon​, Senior System Engineer, Control Account Manager (CAM) and IPT Lead
at Lockheed Martin


When you first meet Mack you notice how engaging, focused and attentive he is. You then notice his excellent interpersonal skills. As you get to know him you also find out that he has great business sense, is a hard worker and excellent negotiator. He is not afraid of change or risk or creative thinking, and is always trying to make everything and everyone around him better. He became so key to the business that we asked him to serve on the Board of Directors, a role he handled with skill and diplomacy. You would be wise to consider hiring Mack when you need first rate thought leadership. The excellent customer service comes for free!” 

- Doug Shields, President and Co-Owner, Research Associates of Syracuse



“Bill helped me create an attainable financial plan that is already changing my life.” 



“After listening to just one episode of Bill’s podcast, everything started falling into place.”



“Bill is the secret sauce to my recent financial gains. I can’t thank him enough.” 


Take a free, mini-course on our premiere CONOPS tool, the Technical CONOPS.  Become an expert in 10 minutes. Completely free, no strings attached.