Process is one of my favorite areas to work on for myself, teams, and companies. I always find myself gravitating to fixing process issues and getting excited to try new methods of working. I'm constantly evolving my process and pitching new ways of approaching projects, depending on what best suits who we're working for and what we're working towards.
Below is an outline of the process I follow, which stems from the Stanford design thinking process.
I believe design can change the world. And a good process is the means to getting there.
Discover & Define
Start with what we know about our users or research if we don't know our users. Can be in the form of user research, market research, or data science. Personas, journey maps, or surveys can be helpful here.
Set the goals of the project based on user needs. Prioritize and scope the work in a design brief. Diagramming exercises can help visualize, communicate, and work together as a group to define the project. Project management, resource planning, and gantt charts are helpful tools to help organize myself and my team. Some useful exercises are the value proposition model, creating guiding design principles, and flow diagrams for your project.
Brainstorming in the discovery portion of the project is so fun, especially as a group. Design thinking exercises can be great to encourage fresh, blue sky ideas from all members of a team. I love including engineering, business, marketing, or relevant stakeholders here to get buy-in on ideas early on and hear their creative ideas. It can be good exposure to how the design process works for those unfamiliar with it. Lightning demos from the Google Ventures Design Sprint process is good for finding inspiration and calling out big ideas. Creating a North Star prototype can be retain some of the fresh visionary aspects from this phase. Competitive analyses and heuristic evaluations are helpful to learn how users might use and choose from others in the market.