Using an arsenal of research methods we begin shaping ideas. To begin, we use our current qual and quant data to form relevant personas as project north stars. This prevents us getting lost in the a mass of data and helps us understand our acceptance criteria through user stories.
Using other methods such as competitive analysis, user interviews and diaries ,user flows, empathy and experience maps provides a solid foundation for ideas.
Understanding business and user goals is an important first step in the ideation process. Research, metrics, and iteration can't replace a good idea. Brainstorming, card sessions, which can include stakeholders, developers and product managers, give a baseline for the project going forward and get buy-in from all team members early and help understand the project goals in totality.
Wireframing and rapid prototyping helps us fail early and lets us generate news ideas. While it's difficult to work with a large amount of stakeholders (nearly 30) for any given wide release, we need to ensure we can react quickly to change. Given this, I employ several tools in my arsenal like Sketch, Principle, Invision, and front-end tools.
Using an agile process, we test and iterate in cycles based on user and stakeholder feedback. The coordination effort between the team is paramount and having brainstorming sessions with the team early facilitates understanding during this phase.
Stressing the importance of failing early, we're able test and understand user pain points and usability issues to create products that better suit their needs, rather what we think their needs are. Testing methods include in-person tests and remote tests via usertesting.com.
Even when a product is 'done' our team keeps track after a release to ensure that it's fulfilling the business and user goals proposed. Understanding the successes and failures of finished products also gives us valuable insight into future ones. "It ain't over till it's over."