Business Center

My Learning Experience as an Intern at CDOT

By Chavirat Burapadecha, Process Improvement Intern
Posted: May 1, 2017

Chavirat Burapadecha

Chavirat Burapadecha
Process Improvement Intern

I started my part-time internship with CDOT's Office of Process Improvement on April 25, 2016, and completed my internship in April 2017. I graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a business intelligence specialization. I brought my technology skills to our team.

Our team is wonderfully diverse and has a very good combination of different skill sets. Not only can the interns learn from their mentors, but also they can learn from each other.

Thank you very much for this great internship! Here are the top three examples of how I applied my Lean knowledge with my technical skills:


Lean Everyday Idea (LEI) database

Lean Everyday Idea (LEI) database

I improved the database from spreadsheets to the Lean Everyday Idea database. The database runs on a Google cloud-based system, integrates data from many Google sheets into one stunning view on the website, and keeps track of data in real time. Therefore, the database reduces the eight types of waste for the mnemonic "WORMPIIT":

  1. Waiting reduces customers' waiting time to submit pictures with their idea to our database, reduces the regional committees' time to find new ideas submitted, and reduces our team's time to find the ideas that are recommended to statewide.
  2. Overproduction reduces the number of spreadsheets and eliminates the redundancy of information.
  3. Rework prevents duplication of effort by increasing the accuracy of data to eliminate data entry errors, or missing information
  4. Motion is reduced by eliminating the need to go to every spreadsheet to count each idea. Instead, this new view helps us by providing one place to prepare the monthly report, eliminating the need to go to several spreadsheets to the check number of ideas.
  5. Over-Processing is eliminated; this process removes the need to prepare several documents for each meeting as we no longer need to prepare the summary report of submitted ideas for every Lean statewide meeting now that we use the Lean Everyday Idea view instead. The view also provides submitted idea information and filters. Furthermore, it shows the total number of the ideas for each region and provides the link to the published article.
  6. Inventory—or maintaining the database—is easier because we've reduced the number of spreadsheets.
  7. Intellect—or the reduction of user confusion—has increased with the new configuration as it adds a standard of work for all idea submissions, status and documentation.
  8. Transportation of ideas is done more quickly as the database helps transmits ideas from all parts of the state and increases our workflow efficiently.

Even with the many improvements that we realize with the database, we still need to make one-on-one contact with our innovators. Therefore, even with these great technology improvements, we still need to engage and collaborate with people, including CDOT employees.

Finally, thanks to Cheryl Wright and our team for brainstorming the idea of the implementation of the LEI database, including testing the prototype and the many improvements allowing us to maintain it today.


Project Management Plan Development Site for Project Management Office (PMO)

Project Management Plan Development Site for Project Management Office

I developed the prototype website for the Project Life Cycle Process of PMO. The goal of this project was to create the standardization of CDOT project management, and digest the long-working processes into five simple steps: initiate and plan; scope; execute; monitor and control; and transition and close.

I learned how to implement the website on Plone and how to design the website to present the complex content. I used HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Bootstrap tools to implement this website. Furthermore, I learned the project management principles and practices from Roselle Drahushak-Crow and Molly Bly. Moreover, thanks to Gary Vansuch for approving my training class on project management essentials at CDOT. It helped me increase my understanding of the CDOT project life cycle.

Additionally, Molly Bly, a former intern in the Office of Process Improvement, helped Roselle Drahushak-Crow and Jane Fisher—both in the PMO—to digest and simplify the content of the initiate-and-plan process. Although Molly and I have been limited by the ending of our internships, we were excited to help PMO to improve the efficiency of its process, and we would love to hear about the continued progress of this effort.


A Lean Traffic Data Analysis for Transportation System Management and Operations (TSMO)

This project is an excellent example of how the Office of Process Improvement helps other departments to efficiently improve their processes. I was given such a great opportunity to help Lisa Streisfeld to collect traffic data from the Regional Integrated Transportation Information System (RITIS) and CDOT Online Transportation Information System (OTIS).

We were tasked to integrate and analyze this data into one spreadsheet, build charts and develop a summary report. Before I collected the data, I had to approach it from the "voice of the customer," thinking about what the customer would like to see in the report and what would add value to the report from the customer standpoint.

This project consisted of three assignments:

  1. The summary report of I-25 from Northwest Parkway to C470, divided into 7 segments
    • Separate data by weekday and weekend in rush hour from 6-9 a.m., and from 4-7 p.m., from May to August 2016.
    • Present data in three metrics as average speed, travel time and travel time index.

    • Build charts of three metrics in different segments to be easy to see the overview of the difference between metrics values.
    • Use different colors of background charts to identify daytime and nighttime.

  2. The summary report of equipment failure from Dec. 28, 2016, to Jan. 5, 2017, in three locations: weather station, I-25, and I-70
    • Merge the daily report into one spreadsheet.
    • Calculate the total number of failure devices and percentage of for each day.

    • Build the chart of the total failure device.
    • Add an Excel formula to automate the chart from the summary table.

  3. The summary report of the bottleneck of 10 corridors—from the Front Range to the mountains—from 3 cities: Denver, Littleton, and Colorado Springs, from May to August 2015 and 2016
    • Calculate the distance for each corridor.
    • Include the milepost from point A to point B, and to highways.
    • Calculate the average speed and the average travel time.

    • Color-code speed and travel time for each hour in the different corridors by using green as good value, yellow as neutral value and red as bad value.

These are excellent examples of how I applied a lean methodology to data analysis to increase value and reduce waste.

What I learned

  • How to apply process improvement knowledge with technology and data analysis=
  • How to develop the software tools to support LEI workflow, from different perspectives
  • The project management process at CDOT, including an increased awareness of all factors—not only the developer viewpoint
  • To share my knowledge with our team and build great teamwork
  • An understanding of how government works

Advice to future CDOT interns

  • Never stop learning.
  • Connect your past experience and knowledge with the new knowledge here.
  • Don't be shy to share your ideas. Even though you think it is just a small one, it can spark others to develop their work.
  • New ideas are everywhere!
  • Every job has its own detailed processes. If you look at them closely, you can find room for improvement.

I would like to thank CDOT for providing a great experience for my internship. I also had an opportunity to join big events such as CDOT's Leadership Forum, Lean Summit and Transportation Lean Forum Committee meeting. I really like the culture here; the people at CDOT are very nice, friendly, and hopeful.