Last 5 years or so I have focussed a lot on and almost moved completely into Agile thinking. It just makes a lot of sense and for me it evolved as a part of solving day to day problems so it was well grounded. I didn’t just found it cool and applied.
Last few days I have spoken to many UX practitioners and am realizing that the UX services companies still are documenting the way we use to several years ago. There are huge deliverables being created and extremely deep documentation. While it is valuable it really is a waterfall and ties us down and really is more a “predictive” approach to designs (even with user testing etc) and not as “adaptive” as it needs to be and is valuable to the core goals of build great user experiences.
The process I follow is that of a very minimal documentation .. I typically start with initial research getting into task analysis, personas etc and then at some logical point jump to prototyping.
Prototyping starts with rough paper sketches to explore several models one could apply and just help think through the concepts.. and then at some stage just jump to wireframe using omnigraffle or HTML (if it’s a very interactive design – like http://insightify.com). I do story descriptions but for most part wireframes are detailed enough.
The last part I have found useful is to be in touch with story development and make adjustments as needed.
I love this diagram: