A Note on making important Management Decisions, with examples, and a suggestion for a similar procedure in the Central Bank of Sri Lanka
Posted on July 8th, 2016

by Engineer D. L. O. Mendis

During high pressure activity in the early post World War 2 era in the field of space research, there was discussion on high level management decision making, in a book titled Engineering and the Mind’s eye” by Eugene S Ferguson. Taking the example of some failures in important engineering projects, Ferguson wrote: Some better assurance of a workable design might be gained by taking seriously a prescription for the design of pioneering engineering projects made in the mid 19i60’s  by a prominent British structural engineer,  Sir Alfred Pugsley. He  saw the need in such projects to give the Chief Engineer a ‘sparring partner’, a senior engineer who was privy to  essentially  all the information available to the chief engineer and whose status was such that the chief could not ignore his comments and recommendations. This sparring partner would be given ample time to follow the design work and to study and think about the implications of details as well as big” decisions made by the chief engineer. This suggestion was strongly supported by Nobel Laureate Professor Feynman after the Challenger Space rocket disaster.

In Sri Lanka, quite independent of this experience, a similar event had taken place in the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau, (CECB) not too long ago. There an engineer Nihal Rupasinghe had introduced a ‘Ring Management’  system of senior engineers who functioned in a similar manner to the ‘sparring partner’ proposed by Professor Ferguson as described above, and strongly supported by Feynman.  Eng. Rupasinghe’s contributions to the CECB was recognized in due course at the highest level and he was appointed Secretary to President Maithripala Sirisena after ‘Yahapalanaya’.

At the present time, at the highest level in the Central Bank there is a situation where a number of senior Vice Chairpersons have appeared on the media from time to time offering their opinions on the dire straits the national economy is in.  A highly qualified economist has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Central Bank. The thought occurred to this writer that a similar system to the Sparring Partner” or better still the Ring Management” system may be appropriate to help the new Chairman of the Central Bank in the situation he finds himself in, and help the country to pull out of the looming abyss.

D L O Mendis

Thursday, July 07, 2016

16/1, George E de Silva Mawatha


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