Every company does their UX a bit differently. It all depends on resources available, are you a start-up or large company and the influence of your existing business-developer processes.
I work for an ecommerce company and work is usually handed down from the top, in the form of “We need to redesign application X” or “We want a new application X”. My first response is always: “But why?”. Why do you need to redesign? Why do you want to build a new product? What is wrong with the current product?
In the User Experience field, there are many tools at your disposal, which allows you to collect and discover a variety of insights. Choosing the right tool is therefore very important. What tools don’t tell you, is what problem to solve first and why. It also doesn’t tell you anything about the experience you should create.
What they lack, for me, is purpose. Not the purpose of the tool, but the purpose of what you, as a UX-er, are trying to achieve. What is the point of collecting the data? How do you decide “what you want to collect” What is your purpose? Without getting to philosophical, the reason you ask, determines what you ask and naturally, how you interpret that data.
For me, I try to answer that question by creating a purpose/framework. This framework I called “The Path of Least Resistance“. In short, the assumption is: “If your utility app / software / service is more convenient to use, people are more likely to switch to it.” What is being implied with “convenience”, I will elaborate further in another article.