"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
- Antoine de Saint-Exup�ry (attributed)
There are a lot of ways to build bad engineering teams, and very few ways to build great ones. I've come to believe that the attributed quote above spells out pretty much the only way I know how to build a great development group.
The best way to get developers to build something great is to make them believe your goal is worthwhile. If you do, control from the top will not only be unnecessary; it will be impossible. That's the best situation you can hope to create, and frankly I love that so many people don't believe that, since it makes things so much easier for those of us who do.
Inspiration: Marc Hedlund