When I first get a project request, here's my map to delivery and success.
First thing and most important is the initial meeting and discussion of the project, it's where I need to listen well and ask all the necessary questions. I need to really feel and understand the clients' request to the fullest.
Once I feel confident that I have fully understood the client and their need, I then move on to the drawing board for some fun and crazy brainstorming time, it's really quite exciting, drawing and just coming up with all kinds of concepts, not thinking about the final result, just exploring.
After that session, I start to analyze and narrow down to the three, sometimes four best ideas and begin to fine tune the concept. I then proceed to deign the ideas on the computer to make sure I can achieve the image I imagined while sketching.
Once that is done, I present the client with the designs and await for his/her feedback in order to reach the perfect result they had in mind.