There is a pattern Feedback Through Form in Interaction Lens described as:
Can you use the form of your object itself as a kind of interface, giving feedback or suggestive cues?
Royal VKB’s 100g/250g Balancing Bowls are weighted so they tilt noticeably and audibly when the ‘portion size’ is reached when filling
That is all about shaping. Template is the best and the most clear example of this approach. If you ask for a Weekly Status Report than you should define a format. Give the list of topics to cover. In this case the problem of status report is shaped and both parties get a predictable result. This approach simplifies the communication a lot.
The same happens if you are publishing RFP. Unless you shape the structure of the response there is no chance to get all information you need and compare proposals you receive.
Looks easy. However, most of the managers forget about giving the structure to their expectations. As the result they receive feedback that doesn’t match the expectations. The same applies if you are preparing a major report or document for someone. Confirm table of contents before moving forward. Think about it. Make the communications easier.
Disclaimer: Templates kills creativity. However, I see nothing bad in breaking the rules. The problem is in not following rules. Thus, in case if you know and understand a rule and have a strong rational reason to break it – just do it. Otherwise, read the rules first.
Inspired by: http://www.danlockton.com/dwi/Feedback_through_form