Many forward-thinking individuals contributed to the origin and growth of LeanProject. Both Principals of LeanProject, Klaus Lemke and Jason Klous, took different paths to become experts in lean construction and were affected by many people along the way. To understand our company, it is vital to understand the people who shaped our philosophy, including a brief explanation of our backgrounds and journey.

LeanProject was born together with Lean Construction Institute, or LCI. Greg Howell, Glenn Ballard and others started LeanProject to leverage lean thinking on projects in the engineering, architectural and construction industries. They developed and refined the Last Planner ® System, and this grew into organization transformation and integrated project delivery (IPD) developments. Greg and Glenn were the original lean construction consultants and blazed the path that Klaus and Jason continue today.

Our Combined Journey

LeanProject’s owners share a common philosophy and mission, but come from different backgrounds and experience. Klaus Lemke comes from a strong engineering and management background, while Jason Klous worked in construction most of his life as a superintendent and pursued an education in construction management. Each brings a unique perspective and experience in the industry that are valuable and can help our clients achieve their optimization goals.

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Klaus Lemke

Klaus’ education background includes a civil engineering degree from the University of Illinois, which steered his career path to structural design and construction management. When Klaus decided to pursue his MBA at Marquette University, he first learned about lean thinking and began his journey toward becoming involved with LCI and working with Greg Howell, eventually becoming the managing principal at LeanProject. Klaus is an industry leader in lean construction and the author of Better Building: Lean Practice for the Project-Driven Organization.

Jason Klous

Jason started his journey toward lean construction earlier than most, working in construction as a teenager and becoming a journeyman carpenter in his twenties while working his way through college. Jason received his degree in construction management from the University of Minnesota. When Jason pursued his MBA, he was introduced to lean thinking, which eventually steered him toward LCI and his introduction to Klaus. After studying with Dr. Fernando Flores Jason was inspired to pursue a Ph.D in Lean Construction with a focus on transforming teams using the Language Action Perspective.

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Two Backgrounds, One Mission

Klaus and Jason have very different backgrounds, but they share the same passion for lean thinking and applying it to the projects and organizations that need their help. Klaus has an intricate understanding of construction management and engineering, while Jason has spent most of his life working in the construction trenches and is passionate about giving a voice for tradespeople.

Both were frustrated with the inconsistencies and lack of organization within the construction industry, in management and on the jobsites. With their combined experience and education, they offer an unmatched level of expertise in lean construction, Last Planner System, pullpole planning and lean leadership for mega projects in multiple industries.

Not only are Klaus and Jason partners in LeanProject, but the two are friends and linked by a strong personal bond. Since 2014, they have worked together closely, even working abroad in Ireland and Israel to consult on international projects. Both intensely care about helping people and finding ways to save projects or organizations that are failing. Both are intrigued and influenced by the work of Dr. Fernando Flores. The work-life balance and shared history of our owners is part of what makes our team at LeanProject exceptional at what we do – it is more than just a job or career to us; it is our passion.

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Our History

  • Greg Howell and Glenn Ballard Meet

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    Greg and Glenn Ballard first met on a project in Texas in 1979 and began a lifelong relationship of friendship and collaboration.

    Greg and Glenn had a long history of working together in research, consulting, and promoting lean construction to the industry.  With a focus on developing new theories and their practical application, Greg and Glenn went on to invent the Last Planner System.  In addition to founding the Lean Construction Institute, Greg and Glenn were also among the founding members of the International Group for Lean Construction and Lean Project Consulting.

  • Understanding Computers and Cognition Published

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    This historic book written by Terry Winograd and Fernando Flores was published in 1986.  It presents an important and controversial new approach to understanding what computers do and how their functioning is related to human language, thought, and action.  The Flores work on language was influential to LeanProject’s work and influenced our early thinking around reliable promising and seeing projects as a network of commitments.

  • IGLC Formed

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    Founded in 1993, the International Group for Lean Construction is an international network of researchers from practice and academia working in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC)

    The distinguishing trait of this Group is its emphasis on theory. We view that the lack of an explicit theory of construction has been a major bottleneck for the progress in the AEC field. 


  • The Last Planner® System

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    After years of work on productivity and crew planning, Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell develop the Last Planner System.  This is the beginning of a construction revolution and a shift away from productivity policing and toward creating and maintaining reliable workflow on projects.

  • Lean Construction Institute (LCI) Formed

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    The Lean Construction Institute was formed in 1997 by LeanProject founders Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell with the initial goal to work with construction companies in the adoption of lean construction.  Under Greg and Glenn’s leadership the LCI went on to transform how projects are delivered including the design phase and the owner’s role in project delivery.


  • Greg Howell Invents the Parade of Trades

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    This simulation has been used with thousands of project teams to demonstrate the impact of variation on construction work. As a standard lean construction training tool, it helps participants experience the possibility for success when reliable workflow is achieved on a project.

  • LeanProject Founded By Greg Howell and Glenn Ballard

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    Greg and Glenn, along with a couple other progressive thinkers, founded LeanProject Consulting in response to requests for help with practical application of lean practices and thinking. Today, LeanProject remains the premier partner for those who want to transform the experience of  project work, and leads the way with innovation and improved results for every type of project environment.

  • Glenn Ballard Completes PhD Thesis on the Last Planner System

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    Starting as a research project on the effectiveness of foreman planning, Glenn’s Last Planner System continues to evolve and improve. It remains a fundamental practice in the Lean Construction revolution today.

  • First Integrated Project Delivery Contract Used

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    After years of working collaboratively together throughout the 1990’s, and with the realization that the contract was the last hurdle to true collaboration, a project team  executed the first Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) contract in Florida.  It sparked a series of innovations that are still happening today around how projects are delivered.

  • The Toyota Way

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    A classic description of lean practices and tools based on the manufacturing genius of Toyota, Liker’s book is a must-read for those wanting to learn about the foundation of lean.

  • LeanProject Introduces Five Big Ideas

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    What is the philosophy behind successfully applying lean thinking to a project? The Five Big Ideas are first introduced by LeanProject as an answer to this question, and become the foundation for many breakthroughs in the industry over time. IPD projects today refer to these foundational concepts as prerequisites for a truly integrated team.

  • Sutter Health Cathedral Hill Project

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    LeanProject partners with Sutter Health and numerous progressive organizations on this groundbreaking project. Sutter Health’s Cathedral Hill project becomes a learning laboratory for perfecting lean practices and the Integrated Project Delivery approach.

  • Study Action Team™ (SAT)

    LeanProject introduces the Study Action Team as a new practice for bringing project teams together to solve tough problems with new ideas. We learn how to learn together around selected readings and build trust while tackling some of the toughest challenges faced by the project or organization. Much more than a book club, a real SAT focuses on causing action to create new possibilities for success.

  • Good 5-Whys™

    Learning to solve the root cause of a problem is a key lean improvement practice. Many times we solve problems without understanding the cause, which only results in the problem recurring. LeanProject’s Good 5-Why program trains people to reflect on project variances as a team to uncover opportunities for improvement. The process builds trust and openness, and enhances a team’s ability to overcome bigger and bigger challenges effectively.

  • Essential Conversations™ Program

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    The future is invented and built in conversation. Learning how to make assessments, navigate moods, and secure commitments can be the difference between project success and failure. Built on the work of Fernando Flores and others, LeanProject’s Essential Conversations workshops build the skills and senisiblites within leaders to navigate uncertainty and secure commitments even in the most difficult environments. The program has been used to transform dozens of companies, and ensure the success of numerous mega-projects around the world

  • Klaus Lemke Joins LeanProject

    Klaus Lemke

    Klaus’s background as a structural engineer, project manager and construction executive makes him the perfect fit to lead LeanProject. An advocate for the industry, our clients and for our internal operations, Klaus leads the company to improve operations, achieve better results for our clients and provide new possibilities for personal and company growth.

    Click to Jason and Klaus Bio

  • Intel Construction Revolution

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    LeanProject supports three of Intel’s most challenging mega-projects beginning in 2013. The projects, located in Arizona, Ireland, and Israel, appliy lean and IPD practices in addition to Language Action principles to achieve unprecedented results.

  • Conversations for Action Published

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    Fernando Flores’ book collects his key essays and articles about achieving true collaboration and creating new possibilities in teams. LeanProject’s relationship with Flores goes back decades, and his work is integral to many of the new approaches and practices we’ve developed over the years.

  • Jason Klous Joins LeanProject

    Jason Klous

    Jason’s background as a superintendent and carpenter brings a unique perspective to LeanProject.  In addition to his field experience, Jason brings a lifelong passion for learning to LeanProject.  He has worked on projects all over the globe as part of his passion for improving the lives of the people doing the work, as well as better project outcomes.  Jason has been a student and collaborator of Dr Fernando Flores and is working toward a PhD at Nottingham Trent University with a research focus on linguistics in lean construction.

    Click to Jason and Klaus Bio

  • Cleveland Clinic Projects Start

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    After a series of disappointing projects, Cleveland Clinic engages LeanProject to help with three of the largest consecutive projects they’ve attempted – a hospital bed tower, ambulatory surgery center, and a world-class medical school campus. This success is the start of a long-term relationship between the two organizations

  • Better Building Published

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    Construction is not manufacturing. This book outlines the practices required to successfully apply lean thinking to project work. It’s become a perpetual best seller in the lean construction industry and has been used for Study Action Teams in countless projects and organizations.

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  • Rio Grande Brazil Project

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    LeanProject works on the largest industrial fertilizer project in South America.  Over the course of 12 months a team from LeanProject worked with the project team to transform the culture on this mission-critical mega project in Southern Brazil. This project is an example of our success in delivering value anywhere around the globe.

  • LeanProject Launches 3Px

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    3Px is the culmination of decades of experience saving and improving projects. This approach forms the right team structure, skills and practices to quickly create high-performing teams on every project and to deliver reliable and repeatable results.

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