The Project Manager’s Playlist (Classic Rock Edition)

If the task at hand requires no human interaction, then it is a safe bet that I will have a set of headphones in while working.  Even as I write this article, I have my headphones in helping spur my creativity and drown out the god awful light jazz covers playing in this coffee shop.

Friends frequently ask me for music recommendations and I always try to tailor requests to what I know about the person.  With that in mind I want to share a series of “Project Manager’s Playlists”, this edition features classic rock tracks.

In my very first post for Scopeless Romantics, I talked about my love for Spotify and it has only improved since that now ancient piece was published. The collaborative playlist feature is particularly great, it allows all of the followers of a playlist to add and delete tracks so around up some of your favorite stakeholders and make one for Fridays in your project office.

Here are 10 tracks from 60s and 70s rock that help tell the story of managing a project:

10. Steppenwolf – Magic Carpet Ride

The very beginning of any project is determining the scope of works. In most cases, you have to wonder if the client isn’t on some sort of “magic carpet ride” with all of the requests that are put into a contract.

9. Dire Straits – Money for Nothin’

The back and forth negotiations that go into winning a project bid can make a person think that the client wants their “money for nothin'” and their “chicks for free”. So next time you are reading a post-tender query document and wondering what the client is actually willing to pay for this tune is going to be playing in your mind.

8. Pink Floyd – Welcome to the Machine

Once the dust settles on the negotiation process and all parties have signed on the dotted lines, it is time to join the project team. Walking into a client site on that first day can be one of the most tense parts of an entire project. Everything is new and while not unlike your past projects it is still all a bit strange. Days go by, the days turn into weeks and before you know it your surroundings are like a second home…

7. Rush – Working Man

…In fact, at this point in the project, you are likely spending so much time in the office that it might qualify as your first home. All the planning and preparation working from task to task in the unending pursuit of that next milestone. You think you have covered every detail, mitigated every risk and established a clear strategy to move forward and deliver the perfect project… now to explain it to the client.

6. The Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

After all the days that have turned into night, drafts that have turned into version 28, and enough cans of Red Bull to kill a polar bear, it is time to deliver your strategy. The client will always have some criticism (be it constructive or not) the real goal here is to not be misunderstood.

The list continues on page 2.
About Jordan Kostelac
A native of Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. living and working in Hong Kong. When he is not managing change and/or move projects, he can usually be found gardening on his rooftop, embarrassing himself at the gym, or butchering multiple Chinese dialects. Jordan is a graduate of The Ohio State University (BA,Communication Technology Management) as well as Franklin University (MBA). Before moving to Hong Kong, he worked for over 10 years in Logistics/Operations Management and Consulting roles for large multinational companies.


  1. Sympathy for the Devil – because even the worst clients sometimes deserve your pity…

Join the conversation!