It is fairly easy to discern a starting point as Step. 1. in my shop.
Step.1. All the hot work is done and the piece is out of the pickle, the piece has been washed, brass brushed to clean off the flux, and is dry on the bench.
I am assuming that:
Step. 2. is deburring, sanding, softening the edges, if desired, and inspecting the joins and other aspects of the for work for defects.
To decide Step. 3 you should by now know what your final look is to be. For my work this will determine all the steps to follow. A satin finish, High shine, or a distressed finish are not stages along a process, they are end results and may require different, sequential steps to achieve those finishes.
Some of my pieces, bracelets especially, that are heavily hammered, are polished to a high level of shine before much work proceeds. They are polished, hammered, polished again, bent and final polished.
This sounds to be an interesting document. Since everyone has developed their own processes for their concept of finished work I suspect the results will vary with each shop.