While I agree with each of Jeff’s points, I also happen to agree with the full sentiment of Adam’s post. The old phrase “People trump process, but politics trumps people” came to mind as I read his impassioned plea for empowerment. In my 20+ years in building software, I have worked with just about every process to optimize software development, and even had the odd footnote in my personal history of having been a member of the “first Scrum team.” I also believe the simultaneous application of Agile and Lean in the entrepreneurial community has substantially contributed to increased innovation and reduced failure of startups.
But I also know one absolute truth: there are few things more powerful than hiring a talented team, making clear the problem they have been formed to solve, connecting them to a direct feedback loop that involves customers, and then getting the hell out of their way.
So if you give me a choice between a great process and great people, I’m going with the great people every time. But I’m also glad I don’t have to make that tradeoff. ;)