The overall control system I use in practical terms is the production horizon: when will 'x' be finished, compared to when it needs to be finished.
A look ahead program will help discuss such questions and Earned Value Analysis will help tell you where you've been, but you need leading indicators of success as well.
Commitments is one such: have you committed dollars to agreed activities sufficient for their timely delivery (e.g. you've got the next sub-contractor signed with sufficient time for him to mobilise to start work in time.).