Here are the design process steps I strive to invest my time and effort in:
Discovery – This is the time to listen and learn what is being asked of you. It’s the time to identify and clarify what problems are you seeking to solve for.
Context Analysis – Strive to know who the user is and what is important to her. Investigate and list out user needs (what you think they need), user goals (what the user would say they need), constraints (technical, business, cost), and assumptions (so that they might be clarified).
Research and Document – Study the subject, practice using the product, or products that may give inspiration. Take notes, make drawings, share what you’ve learned and align expectations.
Story Development – Clarify the user story. Recognize and document the user flow you’re working on. Consider how this flow fits into an overall journey.
Design and Iterate – Work through solutions on paper, wireframes, use cases, and user flow adjustments to move toward solutions.
Ship, Iterate, Test, Align, Repeat – Be ready to show your work (ship) in a way that fosters conversation, expands discovery, and refines the awareness behind decisions. Iterate based on feedback and learnings. As much as practical, as early as possible, test with users or those closest to them. Find alignment on delivering a great user experience through collaborative work with designers, developers, and product owners.