My ideal process is broken into a few parts.
I think every great product starts with the why. There has to be a need, want, utility or reason. Second, a great product has a great strategy behind it. By breaking the product design life cycle into steps it allows for certain areas to have focus.
My nice to haves are weighted based on their importance. Time management becomes extremely important. Rating the importance of features can help you determine how to manage your time. I generally favor function over form. It has to work well and complete the task first and then look great!