I break down the product design cycle into four major parts: problem discovery, problem focus, solution discovery, and solution focus. Different budgets and timelines often call for modification, but I love to use the Double Diamond as a baseline.

1. Problem Discovery

The goal of this phase of work is to discover as many problems with the current process as possible. These problems should come from many stakeholders: users, investors, team members, etc.

Methods: Heuristic evaluations, User interviews, Stakeholder interviews, Data analysis, Competitive audits

2. Problem Focus

After discovering the problems that our users & business are encountering, we use this time to decide what individual challenges or sets of challenges we'll work towards solving.

Methods: Affinity mapping, Feature prioritization, Alignment meetings, Personas

3. Solution Discovery

This is the the time when leadership says 'there are no dumb ideas' and actually means it. I love to pivot between collaborative work & staring at my computer in a dark room for hours on end to generate as many ideas as possible.

Methods: Lo-fi wireframes, Crazy 8's, User flows, Site mapping, Information architecture

4. Solution Focus

And finally, it's time take all of those ideas and begin to eliminate the weird, outlandish, and expensive until we get a solution that fits the product.

Methods: Hi-fi wireframes, UI designs