The proof is in the process. Transforming problems into solutions through conceptual development helps to inform the rest of the design process. Research, sketching, mockups and prototyping are small pieces that help to define projects and ultimately the final project deliverables.
As each project is different and unique so will be the process required to achieve project benchmarks and reach final delivery. Determining factors on project process vary, but often start with budget and timeline. Although not all projects follow the same path, quick sketching and simple versioning is a great place to start and will help to form the future steps and benchmarks of any design.