One should not worry about the fact that other people do
not appreciate one. One should worry about the fact that
one is incapable.
Confucius, ANALECTS, BOOK 14, CH. 30
Increasingly, businesses, governments, and nonprofit organizations are consciously organizing their activities as projects. Of course there is nothing new about undertaking projects in organizations. Anyone who doubts this need merely visit Machu Picchu in the Andes or the Hangzhou canal in China or the Colosseum in Rome. What is new is the deliberation with which projects are being introduced and executed today. In many organizations, projects have become the central focus of management activity, whereas until quite recently they lay at the periphery of the organization's core efforts.
At the same time that projects have moved to the forefront of human activity, there has been a parallel heightened focus on identifying and developing competence in organizations. Increasingly managers and workers are asking questions such as, What skills should we possess in order to do the job? Do we have them? How can we acquire them? As with projects, concern with competence is not new. Military commanders have discussed its importance for millennia. It was a major topic in Plato's Republic. It has long served