You can go to the NASA site to pick up some NASA Software, and a surprising amount of it is actually free. You can download the NASA Software catalog in PDF format, or browse the collection by category from the home page. A lot of it models real-world systems and physics in ways that allow you to simulate all kinds of dynamic systems, but they also have a lot of process management and scheduling tools available.
I have sat through a lot of tutorials about how to do things in a 3D CGI modeling and animation software package before, and this one just made me grin. Jay Johnson has a kid who had an animation project in mind, which he shared with his dad. Dad installed the full free DAZ Studio Pro software suite on his computer, the child beat on it for half an hour getting nowhere, and gave up in frustration. Jay then showed his kid how to use the software to make his project come to life in about 20 minutes, and he reports that two days later the end result was amazing according to dad.
That event caused Jay to assemble this 20 minute Quick-Start Guide for DAZ Studio Pro, paring the process down to just those components needed to get a project started and come up with a final product. Mind, he did jump to the various library segments that he knew held the components needed for the specific project to hand, so you can expect to spend a bit of time looking through each area for the building blocks required for yours. But the important part is the way he trimmed back the process to just the bare bones required to complete the task. Follow that process, and save your work often under incremented file names so you can go back to any step of it later. Once you get the first one built, you can go back and tweak any aspect of it to your hearts content until you get it perfect, but this tutorial should help you get started (and finished) a lot quicker than you expected to.