Arriving at Competence
In thinking about what it takes to build a project-competent organization, it is helpful to go back once again to the Latin origins of the word competence (competere) which means to strive together. Project-competent organizations exist only when a whole range of players do their parts—when they strive together—to make competence happen.
Individual workers must be willing and able to learn. This entails a lot of work. Some of the learning must be directly job-related, while other learning must be broader. In part, workers must acquire knowledge and understanding through formal means and study. One does not just “pick up” techniques like Monte Carlo simulation. To learn Monte Carlo simulation, it is helpful to study it in a classroom setting with qualified instructors who can share their insights on the origins of the technique, its statistical roots, and how it can be applied most effectively. Then, after class, students must crack the books. For each hour of classroom instruction, competent students should spend three to five hours reviewing the material on their own.
But workers must also acquire knowledge and understanding through more informal processes. They should view their job sites as learning laboratories. For example, they should strive to achieve an understanding of what their colleagues are doing. They can do this by asking questions and observing their colleagues in action. In a sense all colleagues can be viewed as mentors, individuals who