Larry Constantine

Larry LeRoy Constantine (b. 1943) is an industrial designer and software engineer, specializing in the human side of software development. He is currently a professor in the Mathematics and Engineering Department at the University of Madeira Portugal, where he heads the Laboratory for Usage-centered Software Engineering [ (LabUSE)] , a research center dedicated to study the human aspects of modern software engineering. He has more than 150 published papers to his credit, as well as 17 books. These include the influential classic text, "Structured Design", written with Ed Yourdon, and the award-winning Software for Use, written with Lucy Lockwood. In 2006 he was recognized as a Distinguished Engineer by the Association for Computing Machinery, and in 2007 he was made a Fellow of the ACM.

Constantine graduated from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1967 with a specialization in information systems and psychology. His contributions to the practice of software development began in 1968 with his pioneering work in "Modular Programming" concepts. Constantine was the primary force behind the discipline of Structured Design, in his book of the same name. Structured Design was arguably the first Methodology, and still remains the most influential, indeed, Constantine has as good a claim as anyone else to have invented that field. The key features of Structured Design ---the Structure Chart, the Data flow diagram and so on --- are all commonlyused and taught worldwide. Many other methodologies have been developed since, and almost all have been strongly influenced byStructured Design, right up to the latest Unified Process and Unified Modelling Languagefor Object Oriented and Aspect Oriented Software Engineering. Indeed, sopervasive has been Structured Design's influence that the most recent methodologies - the so-called Agile software development Methodologies - and Kent Beck's "Extreme Programming" in particular, define themselvesprimarily by the ways in which their approaches *differ* from Structured Design - as in the Agile Manifesto, or even in the choice of the name "Extreme Programming".

Second, as part of Structured Design, he developed the concepts of cohesion (the degree to which the internal contents of a module are related) and coupling (the degree to which a module depends upon other modules). These two concepts have been extremely influential in the development of software engineering, and stand alone from Structured Design as significant contributions in their own right. They have proved foundational in areas ranging from software design to software metrics, and indeed have passed into the vernacular of the discipline.

Finally he has been developing methodologies that combine human-computer-interaction design with software engineering. Thismethodology, Usage-Centered Design, is the topic of his latest bestselling book, Software For Use. This is a third significantcontribution to the field, being both well used in professional practice and the subject of academic study, and taught in a number of human-computer interface courses and universities around the world. His work on Human-Computer Interaction was influential for techniques like essential use-cases and usage-centered design, which are widely used for building interactive software systems.

Early career

Constantine, who learned programming at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, began his professional career in computers with a summer job at Scientific Computing, at the time a subsidiary of Control Data Corporation, in Minneapolis. He went on to full-time work at MIT’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science, where he wrote routines for analyzing spark chamber photographs, and then to C-E-I-R, Inc., where he worked on economics simulations, business applications, project management tools, and programming languages.

While still an undergraduate at MIT he began work on what was to become structured design, formed his first consulting company, and taught in a postgraduate program at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. The core of structured design, including structure charts and coupling and cohesion metrics, was substantially complete by 1968, when it was presented at the National Symposium on Modular Programming. He joined the faculty of IBM’s Systems Research Institute the same year, where he taught for four years and further refined his concepts.

Family Therapy

Constantine trained under family therapy pioneers David Kantor and Fred and Bunny Duhl at the Boston Family Institute, completing a two-year post-graduate certificate program in 1973. From 1973 to 1980 he was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the Tufts University School of Medicine training family therapists and supervising trainees at Boston State Hospital. He became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and later a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Massachusetts and was designated an Approved Supervisor by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

His contributions to theory and research in family therapy and human systems theory were summarized in Family Paradigms (Guilford Press, 1986), a book heralded at the time as “one of the finest theoretical books yet published in the family therapy field” [Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books] and “among the most significant developments of the decade.” [Burr, W. R. "Journal of Marriage and the Family Vol. 49", No. 4 (Nov., 1987), pp. 948] This work has also seen application in organization development.


Although he played piano, saxophone, and violin as a child, Constantine gave up instrumental performance for singing. He sang with the award-winning Burtones ensemble while a student at MIT, is a twelve-year veteran and alum of the semi-professional [ Zamir Chorale of Boston] , and is a member of the Zachor Choral Ensemble, a Boston-based group dedicated to keeping alive the memory of the Holocaust through music.

Constantine is also a composer with several major works to his credit. He studied theory and composition under [ George Litterst] and [ Stephan Peisch] at the New England Conservatory. His first commissioned work, Concerto Grosso No. 1 in G-minor, “Serendipity,” was premiered by the Rockford (Illinois) Pops Orchestra on 9 July 1981. His choral work, “No Hidden Meanings,” based on a text by psychologist Sheldon Kopp, was commissioned by the American Humanist Association and premiered at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, 20 June 1982.


Constantine, an Active (professional) Member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, is the author of numerous short stories, mostly published under several pseudonyms. He edited "Infinite Loop", (Milleer Freeman Books, 1993), an anthology of science fiction by writers in the computer field described in the [ Midwest Book Review] as "quite simply one of the best anthologies to appear in recent years.”

Education and Awards

* S.B., Management [1967] and graduate study [1967 - 1968] , MIT Sloan School of Management, specialization in information systems and psychology. (Sloan National Scholar; Outstanding Sloan Senior)
* Certificate in Family Therapy [1973] , Boston Family Institute, two year post graduate training program.professional
* Winner, Platinum Award of Excellence (first place), Performance-Centered Design Competition 2001: Siemens AG, STEP-7 Lite.
* Winner, Jolt Award for Product Excellence, best book of 1999: Software for Use (Addison-Wesley).
* Professional Member: Industrial Designers Society of America; Member: Usability Professionals' Association, IEEE Computer Society; Active Member, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
* Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (2007)
* US Patents: 7010753 Anticipating drop acceptance indication; 7055105 Drop-enabled tabbed dialog



* Professor, Department of Mathematics & Engineering, University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal [2006 --]
* Director, [ Laboratory for Usage-Centered Software Engineering] , University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal [2006 --]
* Chief Scientist, Principal Consultant, Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd. [1993 --]
* Professor of Information Technology, University of Technology Sydney, Australia. [1994 - 2003]
* Independent Consultant. [1987 - 1993]
* Clinical Supervisor, Adolescent and Family Intervention, LUK, Inc., Fitchburg, Mass. [1984 - 1986]
* Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies (adjunct), University of Connecticut. [1983 - 1987]
* Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts University, School of Medicine. [1973 - 1980] .
* Director of Research, Concord (Massachusetts) Family Service Society. [1973]
* Faculty member, I.B.M. Systems Research Institute. [1968 - 1972]
* President, Information & Systems Institute, Inc. [1966 - 1968]
* Post-graduate program instructor, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. [1967]
* Staff Consultant, Programmer/Analyst, C E I R, Inc. [1963 - 1966]
* Technical Aid/Programmer, M.I.T. Laboratory for Nuclear Science. [1963]

Partial Bibliography

* Larry Constantine and Lucy Lockwood, "Software for Use: A Practical Guide to the Essential Models and Methods of Usage-Centered Design", Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1999.
* Larry Constantine (ed.), "Beyond Chaos: The Expert Edge in Managing Software Development", Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2001.
* Larry Constantine, "The Peopleware Papers: Notes on the Human Side of Software", Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.
* Larry Constantine, "Constantine on Peopleware", Yourdon Press Computing Series, 1995.
* Larry Constantine, "Family Paradigms: The Practice of Theory in Family Therapy", Guilford Press, 1981.
* Larry Constantine, "Children and Sex: New Findings, New Perspectives", Little Brown & Co (T), 1981.
* Larry Constantine and Ed Yourdon, "Structured Design", Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1979; Yourdon Press, 1975.
* Larry Constantine and Joan Constantine, "Group marriage: A study of contemporary multilateral marriage", Collier Books, 1974.

External links

* [ List of publications]
* [ Larry Constantine Website]
* [ Lab:USE]

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