Any product professional worth their salt knows that the best approach to delivering the right solution starts with understanding the market and its needs. And Jason Kunio has a leg up on other product managers in his field because he started on the user side of sound and vibration technology before transitioning to the product side.
“I moved into the software product management role to take all of the learning, observation and feedback I’d gained as an engineer at General Motors to try to change the world for the user.”
said Kunio, who is a product manager for Brüel & Kjær’s BK Connect, a PC-based sound and vibration engineering data acquisition and processing software.
Used to analyze products to find faulty systems, parts or structural design, sound, and vibration software has traditionally been perceived as a tool only for engineering specialists to test the noise and vibration characteristics produced by manufacturing, transportation, and communication products. For example, cars are extensively tested to ensure their mechanics can withstand the vibrations from potholes in the road. And that reassuring thud when you close the door? That’s tested to ensure drivers feel they have a sturdy, protective layer surrounding them.
But Kunio’s frontline experience provided deeper insights beyond the sounds of planes flying overhead, how quiet your dishwasher is or how tiring the vibrations are on your lawnmower. He learned that, as organizations become leaner, less experienced engineers are more often the user of the software, and they share data internally to support the experts’ decision-making.
“We needed to view our applications not just as standalone data acquisition tools, but as a team collaboration platform.”
That realization led to Brüel & Kjær’s Team Server, a newer product that indexes teams’ data files and provides a repository of both old and new information. “This service adds value to the data, making it easier and faster to solve problems—and ultimately, that is what’s important to our customers.”
Helping others find ways to solve problems is one of the reasons Kunio is considered an MVP of the Pragmatic Alumni Community (PAC). A product manager on an international team for the past 4 years, he has learned to focus on efficiency, productivity, and his own health and well-being to balance the needs of his colleagues, while at the same time accommodating a 7-hour time difference.
“I know that being a product manager can feel like a 24/7 type of role, but I think some of the techniques I’ve been using to recapture balance and sanity could help others struggling with time pressures, especially now that we are mostly working remotely.”
But, like his career progression, the time Kunio invests in the Community isn’t all one-sided.
“I’ll never meet most of the people in the group, but I feel like I can count on the PAC members to offer valuable feedback and guidance because they genuinely want to help. I think this is why most of us get into the product role in the first place: We are trying to make the world just a little bit better.”
Each issue of The Pragmatic features a member of the Pragmatic Alumni Community (PAC) who goes above and beyond to share their knowledge, connect with their peers and find innovative ways to apply Pragmatic Institute’s best practices in their work.