One of the key principles of Lean is that communications should be structured. I wasn't really sure what this meant, exactly. So I asked my own person consultant in all things business process related (my daughter Nicole) what this was about.
What she said was pretty simple, actually. That a communications plan should be in place that specifies how and what communication is going to occur. At first I thought that there simply must be more to this than that -- but then I remembered something that happened to me a while back.
And my teammate hopped to and installed the software.
And then the nightmare began -- not for me, but for the people who were responsible for actually supporting users in the lab, people that I had completely neglected to either ask or inform of my grand plans. It was with great embarrassment that I heard about the extra work and headaches I had caused for my team. And then I asked my teammate to uninstall it and put things back the way they were.
After that experience, I find myself not only stopping and thinking, "Who needs to know this?" but also thinking, "And who ELSE needs to know? And who ELSE?" A plan for structured communications helps to prevent this sort of problem.
Recently, when I was helping the team rolling out a new student information system by developing user training, I was able to see that my plan for every-other-day status updates did inform my teammates, stakeholders, and clients. They all knew what was going on. But more importantly, their sense of anxiety was lessened as well. They knew what was going on, and they knew they were going to hear again from me. Their energy didn't have to go into being worried. It could go into getting the project finished.