A process is an inherently imperfect way to deal with real problems that affect all of us. I map my process to the scientific method, to create rigor and be have measureable results. It's through repetition, refinement, and flexibility that I am able to better understand my work, projects, and colleagues.
Conversation & Theory
Front-loading conversation is very important to me, and having communication through the duration of a project. Get buy in early from engineers and stakeholders. This means kick off's with all of those voices in the room, and not having meetings where one person is simply dictating to a bunch of colleagues, rather, I like to replace meetings with working sessions, where other people's voices are respected, and explored. The end result is a theory with metrics that can be tested against.
Research & Exploration
Low level visuals help me build vocabulary for affordances, and better understand the burden of requirements within a system. What has to be there, and what is our ideal. Using sketches, and low-fidelity wireframes, I'll explore layouts and functions with the team around me and have them ask questions to further synthesize the ideas being presented before high level visuals are created. These experiments result in a product plan that I believe can be tested against the theory or solves the problem outright.
This isn't always production ready code. This can be a prototype, a proof of concept, a beta, or even an internal app that doesn’t end up in a consumer's hands. Each thing I make should be treated with the same level of care and visual fidelity. I don't understand limiting one's opinions as a designer to simply the aesthetic, or the architecture. If you truly care, you want to understand and work on the whole widget. The end result is a high quality crafted product or piece of product that can be ideally be subject to test and measurement.
Measuring & Learning
In many ways, once you release something, you've restarted the process. I try to deliver packages of emphasis. When paired with goals, packages that are bundled with assumptions, previous learning, expertise, and opinions, can be studied and iterated on. Did it increase conversion? Have you alleviated a support burden? Is the sentiment from the community positive? Quantitative studies for ingesting analytics get paired with qualitative learnings like customer interview sessions to result in new ideas for where to begin next time. The results are checked against the original theory and the process begins again.