Determining leads without creating authority or centralizing power?
That’s an unsolvable paradox that cannot be solved, only managed or mitigated. Ultimately, there must be some form of centralization somewhere in the process, especially so at this embryonic stage.
For example, the web servers running yearn.finance may be servers or VM instances in the cloud somewhere, but there’s physical hardware somewhere that may be running Web and Network related Services such as TCP/IP, HTTPS, HTML, IIS, NTP, and SQL. You could set up failovers in remote locations from one another as a mitigation, but the point is those servers or VMs have to be located somewhere in centralized locations drawing power, processing packets, providing read/write access to databases and pools of information, and providing CPU power and RAM to make all this magic happen behind the scene. The alternative to centralized servers is trying to run a distributed world computer, with all the network operating fees, costs, and intrinsic latency that comes along with it.
Regarding the best path forward and trying to nurture and grow this entire protocol and ecosystem, the only logical solution appears to be the one you mentioned: a lean transition team with SMEs as team leads that can guide this protocol and experiment to a truly decentralized DAO.
The team leads will need to be empowered to do their jobs, to be agile, and be able to respond with haste should the situation warrant it. Things move ultrafast in the world of DeFi. The selection of these team leads in their various fields is key, as processes and procedures set up now could become gospel or SOP just out of habit and convenience.
To choose these leaders is a difficult compromise situation where there may be no absolutely perfect candidate that can satisfy everyone, and the selection process itself will have its criticisms, regardless of whether it may be the best solution possible.
At best, this selection process will have meritocracy involved, instead of popularity as a measuring stick for inclusion as a team lead.