and make these programs aware of their immediate surrounding structures regardless of where in the directory tree the folder 'project' is placed ?.
"regardless" is a rather strong word; if your scripts should really find their project directory on their own, without any helping assumptions or config files, they'd have to recursively search all directories -- in general that's a very bad idea.
I know several approaches that some programs out there in the wild take (and often they take several of those in combination), listed in no particular order:
- Assume that the current working directory is the project dir
- Search the current directory and all of its parents for special files/directories. For example git, the distributed version control system, does that for finding repositories
- Search in hard-coded places
- Search for config files in hard-coded places, and read them to determine where to go
- Search in directories relative to your home directory
- Search relatively to the installation path of the binary
- Use environment variables and/or command line options to find project dirs.
In the end, it all depends on what you want, and on the usualy work flow. Maybe you like some of the options I've listed.