Efficient Note Taking: The Best Note Taking Methods for Studying Agile

Efficient Note Taking: The Best Note Taking Methods for Studying Agile

Efficient Note Taking: The Best Note Taking Methods for Studying Agile

Struggling with retaining your Agile curriculum? Maybe it's your note taking. Ace your tests and career path with this guide to the best note taking methods

Keyword(s): note taking

Agile curriculum can be difficult to digest all at once. When things are going quickly, the information you take in needs to be organized and ready to review.

When your notes are scattered, so are your study habits and test answers. It's crucial to have a method of note taking that allows you to organize information so that it's ready to be reviewed.

We're going to go over some of the best-known note-taking methods so that you're able to ace your exams.

Successful Note Taking

Taking notes is important for two primary reasons. You might be one of the people who can remember information perfectly without taking notes, but different teaching styles and coursework may disrupt that ability.

When information comes in fast, your memory might muddle the specifics and leave you with poor exam scores. With that in mind, it might be time to start thinking about your notes.

Note taking allows you to document spoken classroom information. You can then refer back to the notes and review the class materials that aren't in the textbook. So, the first reason to take notes is to organize the information that you can only get in class.

The second reason is that the process of note-taking actually helps your understanding. Simply writing something down helps to solidify it in your memory.

When you write it down in an organized way, your understanding becomes greater and the information is situated in different categories and groups. The following are a couple of our highest-recommended note taking styles.

1. Outlining by Importance

Class material is usually given in sections. Each section contains various pieces of information that range from broad to specific.

Outlining your notes involves breaking information down, either by number or letter, and categorizing those notes from most to least specific.

Let's say, for example, that you're learning about biomes in biology class. Your professor might start by listing off the most notable biomes. Each one will have a physical location, geological descriptions, and descriptions of plant and animal life that call it home.

If you were outlining your notes, you could start by writing "Biomes" largely at the top of the page.

If the first biome discussed was "Aquatic," you would then write "1.Aquatic." Each subsequent piece of information would be given a letter and a description. So, it might look something like "1. Aquatic, a. Fish, b. Plantlife."

The next biome would go in front of the number "2," and so on. This serves as a way of breaking down information in order of importance, allowing you to breeze through your notes in order to find specific points.

How This Helps Your Understanding

Imagine writing down notes without paying any attention to their organization. You might simply write down what you feel is important, leaving out the less significant details. That method leaves you with a jumbled mess of notes, hardly showing any semblance of organization.

Upon review, you will find that you remember information based on the information that it's situated next to. With the Outlining method, you'll remember information categorically. Ranging from broad to specific, you'll be able to conjure more pertinent details about topics because they're placed in context within your notes.

2. Cornell Note Taking

The Cornell Method is a slightly more sophisticated one. It involves elements of outlining but requires more preparation.

Page Arrangement

Students should start by drawing a verticle line down the paper about three inches from the left end of the page. Stop about two inches from the bottom of the page.

Next, draw a horizontal line across the page where your vertical line ended. Draw another horizontal line around an inch into the start of your verticle line. This should result in a section at the top of the page to place a content title.

The bottom portion is an area to freely write a summary after you are finished taking notes during the class. You should arrange each page like this before taking notes.


The top of the page should be given a title. This will be the general idea you are learning about as you take notes.

The left-hand box in the center of the page will be an area to list the keywords or general subjects of the lecture. All that's contained in the left-hand column are these keywords.

The right-hand column will be host to your notes regarding the keywords. You should try and break down the information by outlining it. Your outlining method should be the same as the method described in the previous section.

You'll leave the bottom of the page blank until the class has finished. The end result is a cleanly organized page of notes that are exceptionally easy to look over and study with.

How Cornell Helps with Retention

As we've stated, page organization is very important in the way we remember information. The Cornell Method is organized in a simple way, giving clear locations for subjects, notes, and summaries.

It's important that you don't forget the summary section as well. While it may seem tedious to summarize information that you've already taken notes on, it's actually important.

Summarizing serves as a third method of retaining information. Try to write four or five sentences about the section of the class that your notes were taken during. This will help to reinforce the information you've learned as well as open your eyes to some material you might have missed while taking notes.

The goal is to engage with course material in as many ways as possible. Each time you refresh your understanding of something, write it down, draw it out, or summarize it, you improve your understanding of it.

Working on Agile Training?

Whatever coursework you're taking is coursework that you're paying for. You had goals in mind when you started taking the course, so it's important to stick with it and do as well as you can.

Additionally, good note taking allows you to access the information after the course is over and have a decent understanding of it. Whether you're looking for more study tips or information on Agile Training, visit our site to move forward.

Get Hired: 20 Scrum Master Interview Questions You'll Likely Get Asked

Get Hired: 20 Scrum Master Interview Questions You'll Likely Get Asked

Get Hired: 20 Scrum Master Interview Questions You'll Likely Get Asked

Use our "cheat sheet" and increase your chances of getting hired with these scrum master interview questions and the answers recruiters will likely expect.

Keyword(s): scrum master interview questions

You've been invited to an interview, and you couldn't be more excited about being a step closer to your dream scrum master job.

But it's not a done deal yet.

Before you can join a top company, like Philips, Apple, Valve or Google, you need to prove to them that you've got what it takes to add value to their organization. And if you're successful, you can be well on your way to earning anywhere from $59,000 to $119,000.

Here's a "cheat sheet" filled with scrum master interview questions that you can use to increase your chances of getting hired.

Let's jump in!

1. Scrum Master Interview Questions Include, "Why Do Scrum?"

Scrum increases the return on your investment and improves processes continuously.

2. "What Are User Stories As They Relate to Scrum?"

When it comes to scrum, a user story is a single-sentence definition of a functionality or feature.

3. "Define 'Scrum Sprint.'"

A sprint is a regular and repeatable work cycle during which you can accomplish work and keep it prepared for review.

4. "What Are Product Backlogs in Scrum?"

Prior to the initiation of a scrum sprint, the product owner reviews a list of new features, bug reports, change requests and enhancements to determine which are the highest priorities.

If this project is a new one, it will include all of the new features that must be provided. The list of these items is called a product backlog.

5. "What Is a Scrum Master's Role in Scrum?"

This person is charged with removing obstacles that crop up while team members are pursuing their sprint goals. The scrum master also strives to maximize the team's productivity.

6. "List Scrum's Disadvantages."

A scrum master may have a hard time planning, organizing and structuring projects that don't have clear goals.

In addition, daily scrum meetings require constant reviews along with substantial resources.

7. "Explain 'Increment.'"

"Increment" refers to the number of product backlog items that are completed in the course of a sprint as well as during previous sprints.

8. "What Are 'Sashimi' and 'Impediments'?"

"Sashimi" essentially means "done" and is used for defining a task that has been completed. Meanwhile, "impediments" are obstacles that keep your team from completing their work.

9. "What Does a Burn-Down Chart Show?"

This type of chart is used for tracking sprint statuses. These charts basically behave as early warning indicators.

10. "How Do Sprints and Iterations Differ? Also What's a Sprint Story Point?"

Iterations refer to single development cycles in agile. Meanwhile, sprints refer to single development cycles or iterative steps specifically in scrum -- a special agile method.

Regarding story points, every scrum feature is a story. Story points are essentially arbitrary measures that scrum teams use. They're also metrics that agile teams use to figure out how difficult implementing a certain story will be.

11. "What Is Velocity As It Relates to Scrum, and How Do You Measure It?"

Velocity is used to measure how you a team can accomplish in a sprint or iteration.

The formula is as follows: V = story point total / a single iteration

12. "How Long Are Scrum Cycles?"

These cycles' lengths ultimate depend on the kind of project you're working on. However, a cycle typically lasts between two and four weeks.

13. "Mention the Scrum Process Artifacts."

These artifacts include a burn-down chart, velocity chart, product backlog, and sprint backlog.

14. "Ideally, How Long Should a Sprint Last?"

In scrum, a sprint typically lasts for two weeks or 30 days. A period of two weeks is preferred because the team can more easily estimate and then plan and finish the project in this time frame.

15. "What Happens During a Scrum Meeting?"

During a scrum meeting, the team analyzes how much time they had to finish a task while navigating the sprint process.

16. "What's on a Burn-Down Chart?"

This chart has an x-axis displaying working days. It also has a Y-axis displaying the remaining effort.

The chart showcases ideal effort as a guideline, as well as real progress in the effort being made.

17. "What's 'Scrum of Scrum'?"

This term refers to a meeting that happens after a daily scrum.

A representative of each team will attend this meeting and then talk about their work, as well as answer questions. These questions may include, for example, how much progress their teams have made and what obstacles their teams faced during task completion.

18. "Define 'Velocity.'"

"Velocity" refers to the effort that a team can make in a sprint. You attain this number by adding up all story points from your previous sprint's stories.

Velocity is essentially a guideline for teams to determine the number of stories they're able to complete during a sprint.

19. "Define 'Planning Poker' or 'Scrum Poker.'"

This term refers to a technique used for estimating development goals' relative size in the software development process.

It's basically a way of determining the duration of a sprint item by playing cards face down on a table, rather than mentioning these out loud.

20. "What's the Goal of a Retrospective Meeting Related to a Sprint?"

The goal behind this type of meeting is to explain to team members how a sprint went. You can also talk about various ways of further improving sprints in the future.

How We Can Help

In addition to highlighting the top scrum master interview questions, we offer a number of other valuable resources for those interested in excelling in business.

For instance, you can take advantage of courses such as Leading SAFe, SAFe Scrum Master 5.0 and SAFe Advanced Scrum Master 5.0.

Our goal? To help you to improve your skills in the high-demand scrum and agile area through our top-of-the-line training and consultancy services.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about how you can use scrum and agile standards to establish and achieve your business goals in the months and years ahead.

Agile vs. Scrum: Everything You Need to Know

Agile vs. Scrum: Everything You Need to Know

Agile vs. Scrum: Everything You Need to Know

Scaled Agile vs. Scrum: There are many different methodologies in software development, but these two are quickly taking over the market. Learn the basics of each here.

Keyword(s): scaled agile

Want to know the difference between Agile and Scrum?

Did you know that a full 71% of organizations now implement Scaled Agile approaches for their projects? The framework has taken over the industry and revolutionized the way businesses manage projects.

But many offshoots of the framework exist. The question is which is right for you? The article below outlines Agile and its most popular offshoot, Scrum. Read on to determine which will suit your needs.

What is Scaled Agile?

Agile project development is based on an iterative, incremental approach. Methodologies focus on constant feedback from the end users. It allows for constantly changing requirements rather than in-depth planning at the onset of a project.

Cross-trained teams work on different iterations of a product. These iterations are organized into a backlog that’s prioritized based on customer or business value. The goal with each iteration is to produce a viable, working product.

Agile methodologies encourage teamwork over individualization. Accountability and face-to-face communication are paramount in this framework. Developers and stakeholders must work together. They must align company goals, customer needs, and product goals.

The Agile framework refers to processes that align with the concepts originally laid out in the Agile Manifesto. It’s a lightweight development methodology created by software developers back in 2001. Their goal was to create a better way of developing software through application and teaching.

12 Agile Principles

Twelve underlying principles rule the Agile framework. Most of which are also used in other, similar project development frameworks.

  1. The highest priority is the satisfaction of the customer. It's done through early and continuous delivery of great software.
  2. The process harnesses change for competitive customer advantage, even late in the development.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from weeks to months, as soon as iterations allow.
  4. Developers and business people must work together each day throughout the project.
  5. Mold projects around motivated individuals. Then give them the support, environment, and trust they need to finish the job.
  6. The fastest and most effective methods of communication are face-to-face conversations.
  7. Progress is measured primarily through working software.
  8. The process promotes sustainable development. Sponsors, users, and developers should be capable of maintaining the constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to good design and technical excellence enhance agility.
  10. Simplicity is essential. Maximize the amount of work NOT done.
  11. Self-organized teams create the best architectures, designs, and requirements.
  12. At regular intervals, each team reflects on its effectiveness. Then they tune their behavior to optimize results.

When you look at Agile vs Waterfall or Agile vs Scrum, remember that many of the methods are the same. It’s the focus that changes, as you’ll see when you reach the section on Scrum below.

Agile Advantages

If you’re wondering is Agile training for you, consider the following benefits before you get an agile certification. Is the framework right for your organization?

Change is embraced: The short planning cycles make it easy for developers to create and accept changes any time in the project. Teams can introduce changes to the project in a matter of weeks by refining and reprioritizing the backlog.

End-goal may be unknown: Agile is built for projects in which the end-goal isn’t clearly defined. The goal will eventually become clear as the project progresses. Developers can easily adapt to such evolving requirements.

Fast, high-quality delivery: Teams can focus on high-quality development, collaboration, and testing. It's done by breaking the project into manageable iterations. Developers identify bugs and find solutions more quickly because of the testing done each iteration. As such, the software is delivered faster.

Focused team interaction: Frequent communication and face-to-face interactions are paramount. Teams work together in a more flexible manner, owning different parts of the project during each stage.

Customers feel heard: Customers have opportunities during each iteration. During this time they can see the delivered work, share input, and impact the end product. They gain a sense of ownership by working closely with the project.

Unfortunately, Agile isn’t all peaches and cream. It has several disadvantages too, as you’ll see in the next section.

Agile Disadvantages

Before you adopt the Agile framework, keep in mind that it isn’t good for everything. It has its drawbacks too:

Planning is less cohesive: Solid delivery dates are often vague. Some items may be late for delivery because Agile is based on project managers often re-prioritize tasks. Sprints are required sometimes in order to meet deadlines.

Teams must be experts: Agile teams work in small groups, and members must be highly skilled in a variety of areas.

Developer Time Commitment: When the development team is completely dedicated to a given project, the project is most likely to succeed. This is more time consuming than a traditional approach. It requires active involvement and collaboration throughout the Agile process.

Neglected Documentation: Working software trumps comprehensive documentation in the Agile framework. That leads to neglected documentation in many cases.

Final results may differ from original intentions: Since the initial project might not have a clear goal, the final product might be unexpected. Evolving customer feedback may change the direction of each iteration. This may lead to an unexpected final deliverable.

Next, we’ll move on to what many consider an Agile derivative: Scrum.

What is Scrum?

You can think of Scrum as the most popular subset of Agile. It’s used to manage complex product development. It used fixed-length iterations, called sprints, which last from one to two weeks in length. At the end of each sprint, developers and stakeholders meet to plan the next iterations.

Scrum follows the same set of roles, responsibilities, and meetings each sprint. They don’t change from one iteration to the next.

The Scrum process was created in 1993 by Jeff Sutherland. He modeled the framework after a study published in the Harvard Business Review. It compared high-performing, cross-functional business teams to the “scrum” formation used in the game rugby.

Advantages of Scrum

Consider these advantages when you compare project management frameworks:

Higher project transparency and visibility: With daily meetings, each team member knows who is working on what. This eliminates confusion.

Increased accountability: No project manager tells the team what to do. The team collectively decides what to complete during each sprint. The team works together, improving collaboration and empowering each member.

Simple to make changes: Changes are easy to implement because of the short sprints and constant feedback.

Lower cost: The team knows of issues as soon as they arise because of the constant communication. They can fix these blunders immediately, lowering expenses and increasing quality.

Notice the most distinct feature, the lack of team leader. We’ll talk more about the Scrum Manager’s roll in the next section.

Disadvantages of Scrum

As you’ll see, scope creep is arguably the biggest problem in Scrum frameworks. Stand your ground when stakeholders try to increase your workload.

Scope creep: Some projects experience scope creep because of their absence of a projected end date. Without a completion date, stakeholders are tempted to continue requesting more functionality.

Requires teams with experience and commitment: Everyone does everything on a scrum team. That means team members must have broad technical experience. Each member must also commit to the daily meetings and be on board until project completion.

Needs a good Scrum Master: A Scrum Master is not a project manager. The master doesn’t have authority over the team. If the master tries to control the team, the project has a high potential for failure. The master should instead trust the team and avoid telling members what to do.

Higher likelihood of inaccuracies: If tasks aren’t well defined, timelines and project costs won’t be accurate. If initial goals aren’t clear, planning grows difficult and sprints take extra time.

Other disadvantages are minor. Agile shares many of these minor disadvantages.

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve compared the Scrum and Scaled Agile frameworks, what did you think? Which suits your organizations needs better? It’s better to stick with one framework from a project’s inception through its completion.

If you found this material helpful, skip over to our library and read one of our other articles on all things Agile. So long and good luck!

The Future of the Workforce: Is Agile Training for You?

The Future of the Workforce: Is Agile Training for You?

The Future of the Workforce: Is Agile Training for You?

In software development, agile methodology is quickly becoming the norm. Learn more about it by reading here.

Keyword(s): agile training

Agile is nothing short of a game-changer.

It has been dominating the marketplace for years now, surpassing clunky traditional frameworks. As a result, the demand for Agile training, professionals, and certifications has skyrocketed.

That is to say, this framework is both the present and the future of the workforce.

It represents a fine blend of modern software development and project management wisdom. The main advantage it holds is breaking down projects into small, manageable bits. This process lays the foundations for iterative, incremental delivery of products.

To add value to your career and organization, you need to grasp not only the Agile principles. And that’s just the first stop because the implementation of knowledge in practice follows.

If this seems like a lot to handle, don’t fret. Certified Agile training is the best way to overcome the learning curve.

A Change of Pace

The nature of workplace has changed in recent years.

Left and right, corporations are ditching the old, command-and-control leadership style. In the process, they are dismantling rigid vertical hierarchies and demolishing barriers to communication and collaboration.

The Agile framework spurs continuous improvement and delivery of products packed with user value. It puts people first and focuses on their development and growth. Thus, Agile HR has become a critical core of lean business organizations.

And that is precisely where Agile training comes into play.

Certifying and training personnel allows companies to unlock the full potential of HR. They are able to assemble self-organizing and cross-functional teams.

As for managers, Agile training gives them irrefutable proof of their skills and competencies. It supercharges their careers and enables swift growth.

In all these cases, training is a surefire way to gain an edge in the market.

Angle of Approach

The tricky thing is there is no single way to approach Agile.

The framework encapsulates a wide range of mythologies and practices. Their common thread is a dynamic take on project management and delivery of performance.

Namely, the success of Agile execution hinges on the ability to adapt to shifting challenges and business requirements.

So, the first thing to do is familiarize yourself with the underlying Agile framework. You need to gain a sense of what the Agile mindset is and how it differs from outdated methodologies like Waterfall.

Once that is sorted out, take into account your knowledge level, experience, and goals.

Notice training usually encompasses multiple layers of the organization. Indeed, it makes a lot of sense for all team members to enroll in common programs, ideally in the same class. Involving development teams and key stakeholders in the education process is a must.

That’s the way to keep everyone in-the-know and on the same page.

On the other hand, more formal concepts are usually for individuals, not whole teams. Depending on your ambitions, you can go more in-depth on your own here.

Baby Steps with Agile Training

Taking into account its ubiquity, Agile is probably the right choice for you.

But, the question remains: which training to go for? Well, there is no shortage of great options available.

For example, you can obtain a solid baseline with a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) program. It’s one of the most popular courses for managers and it sheds light on the makeup of Scrum. When we say makeup, we mean Scrum roles, artifacts, happenings, and procedures.

You can take this course with three-day training class via esteemed Scrum Alliance. This is a go-to for various Scrum courses. It spearheads the adoption of this framework in the software industry.

Apart from the aforementioned program, it has six other courses for IT and development pros:

  • Certified Scrum Product Owner
  • Certified Scrum Developer
  • Certified Scrum Trainer
  • Certified Scrum Coach
  • Certified Scrum Professional

They suit people of different positions and in stages of the career.

Venturing Further

The next logical step would be to check out the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO).

The course teaches students how to set ideas and goals in advance and then guide development toward success. Product Owner is a key stakeholder, who sets (and resets) requirements via user stories and Product Backlog.

Among other priorities, this individual ensures a prime level of user functionality.

On the other hand, offers the Professional Scrum Master (PSM). This course entails intense training and testing. You have to obtain theoretical knowledge but also display you are able to apply it.

After a PMS assessment test, no additional training is necessary.

Furthermore, Project Management Academy (PMI) is another reputable institution setting industry standards.

It provides excellent training for those who are leaders in management or want to become one. For instance, Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) lets you learn the ins and outs of the effective Agile application.

The only problem is it requires 1500 hours of work experience on Agile projects. So, it’s definitely not something for newcomers.

Scaled Agile at Its Finest

As we indicated earlier, there are multiple implementation methods worth noting.

To navigate this complex landscape, it’s crucial to understand the differences and similarities between them. And this is what Scaled Agile courses can do for.

For instance, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a major model geared toward lean enterprises.

If you want to become proficient in it, opt for licensed SAFe training courses like SAFe Agilist. They give insights into Scaled Agile Framework and its implementation in enterprise environments. You also gain a deeper understanding of Lean and Agile portfolio management.

This knowledge lets you plan and initiate short iterative cycles (Sprints).

You cannot go wrong tapping into other SAFe courses, exams, training, and other resources either. Agile Center lists a heap of options worth your attention.

Some of them are:

The training lasts two days and takes place in cities across the globe.

Beyond these learning sources, the list of possibilities goes on. Feel free to explore more and remember. The more courses you complete, the better it is for your career/company.

The Future Is Now

Agile is here to stay and rock the booming software ecosystem.

It’s fostering disruptive market conditions and opening incredible growth opportunities. Agile training is a sound strategy to capitalize on these trends and level-set an organization.

In other words, learn the basic lexicon of Agile to get more things done every day. You want to stick to renowned certification programs and the most prevalent methodologies. These are knowledge benchmarks.

Use them for real-world application of methodology, which is always a process of trial and error. In due time though, you should be able to empower the teams and delight the customers.

Contact us if you need help in taking the business game to the next level. It’s time to embark on a professional learning journey!

Agile Center Now Providing SAFe® For Architects Course

The course helps senior technical contributors understand the role of particular architects in Lean-Agile enterprises, reports

Agile Center Becomes Silver Partner Of Scaled Agile, Inc.

(London, UK)—Agile Center based in London, a provider of high-quality consultancy and training services all over the world, recently announced that their company stands ready to provide Scaled Agile training courses for System, Solution, and Enterprise Architects. The latest of the in-depth training prepared by the experts at Scaled Agile, Inc. and provided under their partnership agreement, the SAFe® for Architects course is designed to help senior technical contributors who need to understand the role of System, Solution, and Enterprise Architects in Lean-Agile enterprises.

"Simply put, SAFe® for Architechts is an answer to the market's need," said Marcin Chmielewski of Agile Center. "It essentially aligns architecture with business value, helping people communicate the vision and intent of their projects and driving continuous flow to large systems-of-systems while supporting SAFe program execution. It is our aim to ensure that, in the end, what is learned in this course will change how architects engage in, and contribute to, a Lean-Agile enterprise."

The SAFe® for Artichects course prepares System, Solution, and Enterprise Architects to engage across the organization as effective leaders and change agents. Attending the class prepares participants to take the SAFe® 4 Architect exam and become a certified SAFe® Architect (ARCH). This training is a perfect addition to the full suite of Scaled Agile courses already available in Agile Center's portfolio, such as Leading SAFe® 5.0, SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager, SAFe® for Teams, SAFe® Agile Software Engineering, SAFe® for Government, and SAFe® 4 DevOps Practitioner. The training will start in April of 2019, but attendees can register for it starting today.

Chmielewski continued, "Simply put, this course is vital for every architect working in a Lean-Agile environment. Through multimedia presentations, group exercises and discussion, practical workshops, case studies, and practice tests, we will help architects overcome their challenges and learn to synchronize alignment, collaboration, and delivery as they seek to create transformation in their organization."

Visit to learn more about Agile Center, see their scaled agile training calendar, and register for the SAFe for Architects course.

About Agile Center:

Agile Center provides consultancy and training services in the following areas: Lean-Agile Transformation, Agile Strategy audit & implementation and Agile Program/Portfolio management. Through implementation of proven world-class standards, we support our clients in establishing and achieving their business goals. Our team is composed of highly experienced consultants and trainers. Agile Center is a brand of Architecture Center Ltd.

Media Contact:

Marcin Chmielewski

London, W1B 2QD, United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3598 3287

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Agile Center

Agile Center provides consultancy and training services in the following areas: Lean-Agile Transformation, Agile Strategy audit & implementation and Agile Program/Portfolio management.

Agile Center is a brand of Architecture Center Ltd.

© 2020 Architecture Center Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Agile Center is a brand of Architecture Center Ltd.