Business & User Needs
InvestorVision was a relatively new product and it united information from a variety of different systems and databases. The initial MVP need for this project was to simply get that information (often times intellectual property) of the end users into a format they could download and manipulate. This functionality was also needed to do quick quality check to ensure that uploaded data during the onboarding process was accurately implemented.
If you've worked in software for any length of time you are bound to come across a project in which either by desire or necessity, engineering has "designed" a solution. Engineers are amazing and super smart people, but because of their training their solutions are sometimes overly complex, include assumptions that end users would not intuitively know or don't take into account the larger context that a solution must fit in to. So where to go from here?
Re-align on logic: Process Flows
A great way to get everyone on the same page from the get-go is to create a process flow. It allows for conversations with product management and engineering to align on the logic flow needed. It's also good for sussing out any assumptions and allowing everyone to see the full scope of the feature/interaction/project.
Without an interface, it also means you don't get hung up or married to a particular solution without fully understanding the problem space and what is needed.
Seeing some of the complexities in this flow allowed the product manager to revise some of the scope--as it was unnecessary for a first iteration.
Also, this particular product manager had difficulty following a pure logic flow without the context of the interface, so for the next round, I included wireframes within the flow to assist in our collaboration.
Ideas, Comps & whiteboarding
Often when I start a new project, I like to look for a variety of approaches out in 'the wild' as there is often more than one way to approach a design problem.
I brought my ideas and included ones from another designer and the product manager for us to discuss and whiteboard from. Rather than getting "married" to an initial idea, having a variety of approaches allows you to compare and contrast the different approaches in a more analytical, neutral approach--its not your idea versus mine.
Many people want to jump straight to a polished looking interface...utilizing low fidelity wireframes forces everyone involved (designers, product managers and engineers) to focus on the interaction and flow of the solution and not get caught up in visual details.
Working collaboratively with a dedicated visual design we created the final, high-fidelity wires to review with PM and Engineering and hand off for implementation.