Concept of the Operation (CONOP)

We trying to get your idea sold to upper management or leadership it could come as a big challenge to demonstrate and explain exactly what you want to do or how you are going to achieve.  A concept of the operation, CONOP, is the best hybrid approach that I have found to answer questions quickly and tell someone the “5 W’s”.

A CONOP is a one page document that will answer the overall concept of a problem/solution set at a 10,000′ view.  There is no fine grain detail or planning that takes place in this document.  It is almost like a elevator pitch mixed with words and visual cues to answer the initial questions in order for someone to want to get to the next level; next level being a detailed plan for execution.

In a CONOP you need to answer the “5 W’s” both written and visual to capture both ways that someone understands information.  You should have a diagram or image of what is going to occur in the most important part of the solution.  A mission statement that has the words to answer the “5 W’s” and then extra information that would help identify a potential plan of action or answer some devil’s advocate questioning.

The above image is an example of a CONOP layout with possible information sections. “Main Idea” would be where your diagram or image goes to visual depict your idea.  The other sections are not necessary, but I would highly suggest a minimum of the “Mission Statement”, “Key Tasks”, and “Timeline” sections.

Somehow you need to be concise enough to get your idea in entirety on one page for review by management and leadership to OK further development of the idea.  This document will help capture that idea in order to tell your story with trying to aggressively defend it.