When I was little, I noticed when things were being fixed. Whether it'd be a (part of a) road, a building, you name it, I somehow actively registered that something was being done. And usually, after a while, I'd notice that the work was finished. The workers would be gone, any signage would have been taken down, and cranes no longer defined the skyline. Sometimes you could tell that the situation was different than before, usually better, and sometimes it wasn't that clear. But to me, it was obvious the work had been done, never to be looked at again.
Over time, I noticed this happening time and again. Usually at different places, because you can only do so much at one spot, right? Buildings would be fixed, others would be torn down, and new buildings would arise. The same for roads: the surface would be redone, a roundabout would be placed, sometimes a stretch of road would be moved to an entirely new spot. In other words: something was being done at any and all times.
It seems to be the pattern of the modern world. Something is done at any and all times. Maybe you’ve visited some place in the world many years after you’d visited it last. You noticed that things were different. You saw the new buildings, and you might not even have realised which buildings were no longer there. Traffic situations had been altered, and you may not have recalled how it was before. You wouldn’t be the only one.
We, people, often think in terms of things getting done. Done as in finished, never to be looked at again. But that's not the way of the world. Even when something's finished, it will need TLC at some point. Buildings, roads, gardens, you name it, they need active maintenance. So, whether you like it or not, the world is complex and everything is always in a state of flux.
There is a parallel to be drawn here with the business world. One of the most asked question in the (business) world just has to be 'Is it done yet?' Done, in this case, again means never to be looked at again. However, we have just established that's not how the world works.
I have often wondered why Agile coaches hang around for so long in companies, doing whatever it is that they do. And when they've finally left, new coaches come in and take over. You'd think they'd have that Agile thing done and dusted by now.
Spotify came up with the "Spotify model". Except that Spotify has clearly stated (on multiple occasions) that there is no Spotify model. Unfortunately, many business people look at Spotify and its success, deduce that their model ("the Spotify model") must therefore be the key for their own success.
Here's the key, though. Whatever, at any moment in time and only at Spotify, was considered the Spotify model, it has since become obsolete, as the world has moved on, and so has Spotify. I guess that we can describe Spotify, and any sufficiently Agile company, as a learning organisation. They keep learning, over and over, what works and what doesn't, and adapt accordingly. (If you want to know why a learning mindset trumps a "knowing" mindset, just read Carol Dweck's book 'Mindset', or you can look at The New New Product Development Game.)
In short, adaptation, or change, is at the heart of successful organisations. Because people have a tendency to oppose change (it's in our nature - so I don't mean ill-spirited), there has to be a force that drives the change. That force is given by those aforementioned Agile coaches, or Change facilitators, for that matter. After a while, to prevent a change effort (which is on-going, pretty much by definition) to become stale, some or all of those facilitators are rotated for a fresh bunch. I'd like to think it keeps things fresh.
When you look at organisations, you should see the signs of a work in progress, just like the signage and cranes that I started this article with. They won't stay at the same spot all the time, just like not one spot on a road is perpetually under maintenance. But just like in the real world, change is inevitable and absolutely necessary. The alternative is obsolescence.