I was out at the NHC, and had limited internet access, and was having too much fun. Time to put my views on here.
What is the most important part? All of it. Think like a German brewer would. Pay attention to the details in the entire process, be as exacting as you can. Don't cut corners. Read through what Kai has to say on braukaiser.com as that is a wonderful resource for making German beers. Big thanks to Kai for doing that.
It also helps to have German brewed beers as fresh as possible for comparisons. This is hard sometimes. Often the beers here in the US have honey in the aroma, and that is a sign of staling (2,3 pentanedione). The bitterness starts to have a roughness to it when the beers get old. The same beer in Germany has no honey aroma and a smooth bitterness. If you have a chance to go to Germany, do it!
Yeast. I have been using the 34/70 strain (WLP-830, WY-2124) for my dry German beers and the WLP-833 for malty German beers. I have heard good things about the WY-2352 yeast, and had a Helles made with that at the NHC. It is said to be the Augusteiner yeast, so I need to try that one.
Water. I follow Kai's water profiles.
Malt. German malt. Durst Pils can help make a bone dry pils. Weyermann is good for all of their malts. I have only used a little Best Malz. Where can I find more types other than Pils?
Hops. One thing you need to know is that "Hallertau" from the LHBS can be several varities grown in the Hallertau. I seek out Hallertau Mittelfrueh on the label to get the one I want. Hallertau Tradition is OK. Magnum works for bittering. Tettnager is a favorite, but was hard to find in cones last year. I have used Saaz in German Pils with good results. An interesting fact from the Hop talk by Stan Heironimous was Tattnanger, Spalt, and Saaz are genetically the same, but the growing region gives different results. Herkules is on I have been looking at for future brews, and Stan said it is going to become very popular.
Process: Hochkurz, chill to 45F, pitch a bunch of yeast, O2, ferment cool, I do a D-rest to clean up and blow of SO2, lager for a long time as cold as you can.