Georgiann Puckett: YUI/ASTRA Program Manager (AdaLovelaceDay09)

By YUI TeamMarch 24, 2009

Dav Glass and George Puckett of the YUI Team

[Note: This post is part of the YUI team's participation in Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of female technologists around the world.]

Georgiann Puckett (better known as "George") serves as the program manager for YUI and affiliated projects (including the ASTRA library). Program management of complex technical programs comprising multiple projects is one of the most demanding jobs in a software company, and George is ideally suited to the challenge. She brings to the table a quick intelligence, the patience and discipline to manage large streams of data, and a deeply rooted understanding of the processes by which successful software programs are sustained. Her background serves here well — as a C/C++ engineering veteran, she can empathize directly with the experiences of engineers with whom she works.

YUI releases go out with hundreds of changes, many of which are suggested or contributed by developers around the world. Since joining the team two years ago, George has revolutionized the way all of that information is handled. That's led to better forecasting, better communication, and better quality across the board.

George has also provided commendable leadership for the YUI team in supporting major internal projects at Yahoo. When we designate an internal project as a "big bet," something critical to the future of the company, we team up with the project's frontend engineering team and make sure that we're doing everything we can to support them. George manages these relationships, ensuring that our collaborators get timely, well-documented builds and that their priorities are accurately reflected in our release plans. Having the ability to understand the diverse projects' needs and to faciliate our successful collaborations is no small challenge, and George has done the heavy lifting necessary to ensure that YUI and ASTRA engineers are providing the right support at the right time throughout Yahoo.

Speaking of heaving lifting.... George is well known at Yahoo as an exceptional technologist and a tireless advocate for YUI, but she's also well known to those who frequent Yahoo's employee gym. You'll find George there four or five nights a week working to better her own world-record form on the free weights.

George's work and her general commitment to excellence has certainly inspired all of us who work with her over the past few years. I asked George who had inspired her and sent her down the path toward a career in technology.

What was your first experience with computers?

I was intent on entering a pre-med track in college and I had an AP Calculus course my senior year as part of the college prep curriculum. As luck would have it, the teacher got a grant for two Apple computers as part of a trial to teach programming at the high school level. Not only did we get it - we got competitive at it trying to do the most robust features with the least amount of code. The first digital electronics course in college where i got to program circuits on a breadboard using assembly language sealed the deal.

Did you have any female technologist role models that influenced you?

There are two women I've worked with that I've been impressed by and learned a great deal from. Darragh Muldoon, co-founder of Cricket Software, hired me out of college into by far the the most amazing startup adventure of my career. She was was not a technologist per se, but I learned a great deal from her with respect to her people skills in leading technical folks, building teams, and growing a company. The other woman I look up to and learned from was Sheila Brady, who rose through the ranks to director-level in Apple's system software division. She definitely knew how to drive a release, in many cases leading teams composed mostly of male engineers. She exhibited a level of confidence, competence, and aggressiveness that could be appreciated by any engineer — male or female.