Inspectioneering Journal

The Three Types of FEMI Decision-Makers - Which One Are You?

By John Reynolds, Principal Consultant at Intertek. This article appears in the May/June 2023 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


This article describes the three types of FEMI decision-makers that I have encountered in my career and explains the difference in the effectiveness of the three. Figure 1 shows the three types on a FEMI decision-making spectrum. The goal is to be in the middle – making optimal decisions on FEMI problems that need resolution. But some decision-makers get trapped on either end of the spectrum. Some just can’t make a decision without more information or data and more evaluation of that information. They are on the right end of the spectrum, and they suffer from what we call “analysis paralysis.” On the left end of the spectrum are those that tend to be “overly decisive” and often make decisions too quickly without enough information or analysis or without sufficient consideration of other options.

Figure 1: FEMI Decision-Making Spectrum
Figure 1: FEMI Decision-Making Spectrum

In my experience, there are at least five key variables (besides personality) that affect where FEMI decision-makers might land on the spectrum and, therefore, possibly cause a less-than-optimal FEMI decision to be made and implemented. They are:

  1. Time available to make the decision
  2. Information available before the decision is made
  3. Risk of failure (and ramifications) for the wrong decision in the mind of the decision-maker
  4. Subject expertise available to make the decision
  5. Complexity of the issue and amount of options available

Note that in this article, I will refer to the decision-maker as the one who actually has to make the final decision on what plan will be implemented or, more often in the FEMI case, will be making the decision on what FEMI recommendation will be made to management in order to get approval for implementation. As such, the job of the FEMI decision-maker addressed herein might be for an inspector, inspection supervisor, FEMI engineer, or FEMI manager. So keep each of these people in mind when I simply use the term “FEMI decision maker.” Each of these types of FEMI personnel makes a lot of recommendations and decisions on what to do with inspection findings. Many of these recommendations are made by inspection personnel or associated FEMI engineering personnel who were involved in assessing inspection findings and deciding how best to make repairs/replacements. Some of those recommendations and decisions need engineering input or evaluation, while some do not.

Examples of FEMI Issues that Would Need a Fix-it Decision

Before I get into explaining more about the three types of decision-makers that I mentioned above, let’s think about a FEMI problem that would need a solution. Then, we can relate better to how the three different types of FEMI decision-making mindsets are different and why.

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Comments and Discussion

Posted by Syed Bukhari on July 18, 2023
Hi John, I must congratulate you on a well... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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