Bill Buxton writes in Sketching User Experiences:
"Innovation in process trumps innovation in product. In order to create successful products, it is as important (if not more) to invest in the design of the design process, as in the design of the product itself."
Process gets a bad reputation for constricting creative flow. But, I believe a good process helps us focus our work on the creative challenges as opposed to the "figuring out how to work/communicate/document" challenges. It shouldn't get in our way, it should help us get our of own way. I am believe that every UX entity - wether an agency, an internal group or a freelancer should have a clear visual manifestation of their design process.
It should be put in place with the explicit understanding that it is made to be adjusted, compromised, broken and refined…it's flexible to each project and client. Instead of a set of immutable laws, it's a set of working guidelines. It provides a starting point during the pitch process and project planning, a gut check throughout the project and a framework for retrospectives.
So what should the qualities of a great process be?